Sunday, March 6, 2011

Portobello Veggie Sandwich

If you've spent any time reading this blog, you might have picked up on my obsession with mushrooms. I put them in just about any dish I can, and usually it works brilliantly... except one time I went too far and put them in chili... but that's another story. In this dish, the mushroom is the main event, and it's a beautiful thing. This recipe was inspired by a sandwich from Gratziano's, an Italian restaurant in Waco, but it was my great friend Anna who encouraged me to recreate it.  A couple of weeks ago, as we're both devouring these amazing sandwiches and talking about how delicious they are, Anna says, "You could totally make this." Well, here's my version, Anna - this one's for you!

You'll need:
1 portobello mushroom
2 tsp. French vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 sun-dried tomatoes
Provolone cheese, one slice
1/2 Tbsp. butter
French bread
Handful of spinach
Ranch, optional

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees - this is just to toast your bread later.

At Gratziano's, the mushroom was marinated in balsamic, but I used French vinaigrette for mine. Also, the pros say to clean mushrooms by wiping them with a damp paper towel, but look how dirty this big guy is!  I couldn't resist scrubbing it under running water.

Pop out the stem, and make sure your portobello is nice and clean.  Then, spread about a teaspoon of vinaigrette on each side and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  If you have time, let this hang out in the fridge and marinate for a few hours.  I'm impatient, so my mushroom went straight to the sauté pan.

Sauté your mushroom with olive oil on medium heat until it's soft and tender - about 8 minutes on each side.

I waited until it was time to flip my mushroom before adding the the bell pepper and sun dried tomatoes to my sauté pan because those will brown much quicker. You can add a splash of olive oil if your pan starts to get dry. Once those start to soften, top the portobello with cheese.

While the cheese is melting, drop little bits of butter on your bread and toast it in the oven for a few minutes... careful not to burn!

Now it's time to assemble your sandwich!

This also reminds me of the life-changing Veggie Sandwich at Elite Grill in Waco, except their version is dripping in butter so the nutritional value of the veggies sort of goes out the window.  Using olive oil to cook the veggies helps a little with that issue.  You can spread some ranch on the sandwich or have some on the side for dipping... because you'll definitely need a knife and fork to eat this bad boy.

Sending you love (with plenty of mushrooms) from my kitchen.

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