Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Button, Crimini, and Portobello Mushrooms

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My love affair with portobello mushrooms began in college. When I wanted to get away from campus in search of some comfort food, I would head over to The Loop. Of course, visits to The Loop were reserved to mid terms, finals and days when I needed a pick me ups - due to a limited student budget. My order was always the same, grilled portobello sandwich with a cup of tomato bisque. YUM! The meal was light but extremely filling.
Most people either love mushrooms or hate them. For me, mushrooms are a great substitute for meat in most dishes, they are filling and just plain tasty. They are great as a main dish, a pizza topping or secret ingredient that can add depth to any dish.
A few weeks ago I had a very vivid dream of preparing a vegetarian friendly mushroom sandwich on a french baguette using only ingredients in my fridge (I guess I was watching Top Chef). My best friend and I joke that I'm the only person who has dreams about recipes and food combinations to try.
The next day, I thought I could prepare the sandwich for lunch. After looking in my fridge here is what I came up with:
1 large white onion - sliced
1 clove garlic - crushed
1/2 pint of crimini mushrooms - sliced
1/2 pint of button mushrooms - sliced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
1 1/2 tsp. of Tony Chachere Cajun seasoning
3 Tbsp. Pesto (I had some home made arugula pesto) - you may use a good quality store bought pesto
1 Vine Ripe tomato
Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
1 French Baguette - cut into a 4 inch sections
First, start by slicing your onions. I normally buy pre-sliced mushrooms because they make life easier.

Heat a medium sized skillet on (med-high), once heated add the butter and olive oil, then add the mushrooms and onions. Cook for a few minutes then stir. Be sure not to add any salt at this point as it will draw out the water from the mushrooms and you'll end up with a wet mixture. After about 3 minutes add the Thyme and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, slice the bread and toast (I happen to like the bread toasted, if you don't, then don't toast), slice the tomatoes and set a side.

After about 5-6 seasoning with your Cajun seasoning, stir, and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Now its time to assemble the sandwich. Spread pesto on both sides then top with tomato slices.

Once the mushroom mixture has slightly cooled add a couple of heaping tablespoons of mushrooms, and finally top with Parmesan cheese.

I hope you will try this recipe a try the next time you have some mushrooms handy. Feel free to make any substitutions. You can use Hummus in place of the pesto, or roasted red peppers in place of the tomatoes. This is just a method - use your favorites.
Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium.

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