Portobellos, Inside-Out

mushrooms 2.23.13As I was heading into my third week of mushrooms, I figured portobellos were a good way to go, but I didn’t want to do them as a “burger,” though they’re very tasty that way. And I didn’t want to stuff them, though they’re very tasty that way, too.

But I had the thought that if I could slice them in two horizontally, I might be able to fill the cavity of the one side, and cover it with the curved-side down of the other side, so that they were like sandwiches, flat on both sides. And then I might coat them in flour, dip them in egg, and then dredge in seasoned breadcrumbs. And if I browned them in a pan, I might have another tasty way to enjoy portobellos.

So that is what I did, and now I definitely do have another way to enjoy them.

Because I had a couple small sweet potatoes, I decided to peel them, cut them into fries and roast in a 400° oven while I prepared my inside-out portobello mushrooms. A nice side.

I sliced the top from each of four portobellos, about a third of the way in, so as not to cut into the cavity and stem part of the bottom.

In two of the mushroom bottoms, I put in a few strips of roasted red peppers and some chopped parsley, and layered smoked gouda on that. In the other two, I spooned in a little pesto and chopped parsley, and again added smoked gouda. Then I turned the curved side of the caps down to cover them so that the flat part of the mushrooms were now the outside.

I set up three bowls: one with flour; one with two eggs, beaten; one with plain breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper.

I heated canola oil in a pan over medium heat, added a generous amount of oil, not deep, but enough to brown the four mushroom sandwiches on each side.

I dipped each sandwich in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. This wasn’t neat. There was no elegant wet-hand, dry-hand technique. I needed both hands to hold them together and to get each coating into the curving sides. But I only had four, so a short-lived mess.

I put them in the pan to brown on one side, then the other. Because I wanted the mushrooms tender, and also to allow the sides to brown, too, when I took the sweet potatoes out of the oven, I put the four mushroom sandwiches on the pan, and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

I let them rest a few minutes, then sliced. They sliced beautifully, and the smoked gouda ended up being a nice choice, not just for its slightly buttery, nutty flavor, but also because it warms but doesn’t melt all over. And then the mix of fried breadcrumbs with tender mushroom was wonderful.

My husband preferred the one with pesto. I liked them both. But that’s the beauty of something like this. You can use different odds and ends you have around for an interesting filling. I thought an olive tapenade would be great the next time, or chopped artichoke and spinach. Maybe a blue cheese, maybe a swiss or havarti. Maybe…

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