Monday, May 24, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Me

Today on Serious Eats: Lemon Yogurt Mousse. You’ll like it better than the finale of Lost. At the very least, it will make you cry less.

Last night, like every other island-obsessed J.J. Abrams acolyte on our big blue marble, the Husband-Elect’s television (and by proxy, mine) was turned to LOST. We had a few friends over, as well – all LOST fans, all of whom were overjoyed by the re-appearance of a certain … er, no spoilers here. But, needless to say, I’ve never seen people react like that to anything besides A) the 1980 U.S.-Russia Olympic hockey final, B) the birth of their children, or C) V-E Day.

I’ve only caught on to LOST in the last year or so, and only because Husband-Elect lets me change it to Biggest Loser during the commercials. So, while my friends and future spouse were alternately jumping for joy and wiping away tears, I was all like, “Who’s that lady?” “How did they all get guns?” and “Why is that guy wearing so much eyeliner?” It’s a tribute to my associates’ great humor and infinite patience that nobody punched me in the neck.

Before the beginning of the end, the five of us had a pre-summer cookout. There were hot dogs, Greek Orzo Salad, White Bean Dip, and perhaps most importantly, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers. I’ve been on a huge Portobello kick lately, for a few different reasons:
  1. We’ve been buying less (and better) meat, and need substantial substitutes. Since they’re meaty and adaptable to just about any flavor, Portobello caps make excellent stand-ins.
  2. Though pricier than other veggies, Portobellos are still cheaper than most meats. 
  3. They cook lightning fast, so dinner is on the table in a few minutes.
  4. Oh man, are these things ever healthy.
  5. So … I carry my groceries home from the supermarket. And I have a great tendency to overestimate my upper body strength, which is roughly that of a malnourished pygmy marmoset’s. The mushrooms are nice and light, and they compensate for the 40 cans of tomatoes I trick myself into believing I can muscle home.
Last week, it was Blue Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers. This week, I wanted to try something where the cheese wasn’t the star of the show. Hailing from All Recipes, this highly rated dish fit the bill. It used a simple marinade of Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, salt and pepper to create a savory, striking flavor. Reviewers didn’t seem to make many changes, either, so I prepared the ‘shrooms exactly as prescribed.

Happily, all four of the LOST fans loved it. If they were stuck on a weird tropical island with a polar bear, a smoke monster, and a troupe of curiously clean and un-injured airplane crash survivors … well, honestly, they’d probably go with a machete over a mushroom, but the burger would be a close second.

Speaking of which, where did they get all those weapons? And how did they eat? And what did that Ben guy do to deserve all those beatings? And...


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Grilled Portobello Burgers
Serves 4.
Adapted from All Recipes.

4 Portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and wiped clean
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 whole wheat hamburger rolls
A few sliced tomatoes (optional)
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese (optional)

1) In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, together. Salt and pepper to taste.

2) Preheat grill.

3) Spread out caps, gill-side-down, in a 9x13” glass baking dish. Pour marinade over mushrooms. Brush caps with marinade to get any spots you missed. Let sit 15 minutes, flipping twice, brushing both times.

4) Grill mushrooms 10 to 16 minutes over medium-high heat, flipping once halfway through. When cooked, pile on toasted rolls with lettuce, tomato, and feta cheese if desired.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
96 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, 2.3 g protein, $1.28

4 Portobello mushroom caps, stemmed: 87 calories, 0.7 g fat, 5 g fiber, 8.4 g protein, $4.40
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar: 40 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.30
2 tablespoons olive oil: 239 calories, 27 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.23
1 tablespoon minced garlic: 13 calories, 0 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, $0.12
1 teaspoon dried basil: 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0.3 fiber, 0.1 protein, $0.02
1 teaspoon dried oregano: 3 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.02
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $0.02
TOTAL: 384 calories, 27.8 g fat, 5.9 g fiber, 9.1 g protein, $5.11
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 96 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, 2.3 g protein, $1.28

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