Portobello Mushroom Burgers

If you’re looking for a guilt-free treat, try these grilled portobello mushroom burgers. They’re pretty easy to prepare, a delight to eat, and pretty healthy as well. That’s the best part with these grilled portobellos.

There are an infinite number of ways to mix and match to create your perfect burger, and if you think about it, a portobello mushroom instead of an all-beef patty is just one alteration. I tried to go a different route with all the “classic” components in this instance.

I split a piece of toasted ciabatta and laid the grilled portobello on a bed of tomato, arugula and basil, under a layer of onions caramelized with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Finally, generous shavings of gruyere topped it all off. This burger had loads of flavor, none of them “traditional.” I like the interplay between the smoky, meaty portobello, the bitterness from the arugula, the sweetness from the balsamic-caramelized onions, the creamy salty gruyere and the bite from the basil. I was afraid it would end up being overkill in terms of flavor, but I thought that everything went together quite well.

This is fairly simple to prepare. Brush or wipe the caps of the mushrooms to remove any grit. Don’t wash them, as they tend to absorb the water. Cut off the stem, as it’ll end up too tough to eat. It’s up to you if you want to scrape off the gills on the bottom with a spoon. They’ll give off a blackish color, but don’t really affect flavor, in my experience. It could be bad for plating and presentation purposes though. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the portobellos, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and pop on the grill for around seven minutes a side. In the meantime, prep your other toppings. Caramelize some onions if you want, toast the bread, chop up some tomatoes, pickles, jalapenos or whatnot. You can also melt a slice or two of cheese on top of the mushroom when you’re almost done grilling. What I love about making burgers at home is that anything goes, and you always get exactly what you want.
I think this would go well with a good-quality lager (no flavorless macros, please!) like Victory Prima Pils when it finally reaches our shores, or your standard hefeweizen or witbier. This burger has more delicate flavors than your traditional beef bad boys, so I’d suggest a beer that would complement and not overpower it. A more adventurous pairing would be perhaps a Trappist dubbel or tripel for some contrasting fruitiness, especially if you’re afraid that a meatless dish won’t be filling enough. At the time, I had my ‘bello burger with some cheap white wine that I normally use for cooking. It wasn’t bad, but then again, I know nothing about drinking and appreciating wine. It was still a good meal, nonetheless. Isn’t that all that matters anyway?

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