I can’t normally find portobello mushrooms in Germany, but this week I got some from the American store in Ramstein. (Thanks Rowena!) I wanted to make something simple that really showcased the mushrooms, so I decided on this recipe from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley. The top side of the mushrooms are brushed with olive oil and then roasted at 400 F for 30 minutes. Then the mushrooms are sliced and tossed with a “vinaigrette” made from olive oil, garlic, reduced balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
I omitted the parsley since I didn’t have any, but otherwise followed the recipe closely, even using all 2.5 Tbs. of olive oil. (With only 4 large portobello mushrooms, this is quite a rich recipe!) To make the vinaigrette you saute a clove of garlic in olive oil and then add the balsamic vinegar and reduce the vinaigrette a bit to get a rich, concentrated syrup. I think I reduced mine too much, because it ended up so thick that there was no way to “toss the vinaigrette with the mushrooms,” as instructed. I added a bit of hot pasta water to try to thin it out but it was still more of a glaze than something you could toss. So I used my silicon brush to brush this glaze onto the slices of portobello mushrooms.
I really liked it. The top of each mushroom was dark and almost caramelized, but the bulk of the mushroom was still pretty firm and juicy. And the sweet and tart glaze really complemented the earthy taste of the mushrooms. Derek said it tasted like an (American) Chinese sauce. Maybe if I had had parsley it would have tasted less Chinese and more Italian? Derek said it was good but he’s never a big fan of portobello mushrooms so he had one and left the other three for me.
I’m not sure what this recipe would be like if you cut down on the oil. The first step is to brush the four uncooked mushrooms with one Tbs. of olive oil, and they just slurp it up. The mushrooms don’t look greasy at all. It’s as if the oil just disappeared. But I think the oil is what allows the tops to get so nice and roasted. Next time I’ll try leaving one mushroom without oil and maybe one with just half the amount of oil, and see what happens. I would be hesitant to change the ratio of oil and vinegar in the glaze, but maybe it could be cut by a 1/2 tablespoon. Alternatively, you might be able to stretch the glaze to cover five or six mushrooms caps.