Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grilled Portobello mushrooms with ricotta and garlic

Do you like the taste of Portobello mushrooms? I do. But most of all I like the name. Portobello. 
Sounds like something interesting, trendy, exclusive, not for everyone. It reminds me on the vibrant Portobello road in London with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and colorful houses. The antiquity market held every Saturday and the Portobello film festival every August, Notting hill with its high quality housing and private parks. Fashionable place, fashionable name. 
Now the naked truth. Name portobello is a marketing trick. Portobello is a mature form of crimini or white button mushrooms - plain unexpensive mushrooms with a trivial name. If a crimini has a diameter of cap more then 10 cm (4-6 inches), cap becomes a flatter appearance and mushroom is too big to be packaged as a crimini. That is the time Portobello arises - good tasting mushroom with a dense meaty texture. What a difference a name makes. 
The power of marketing has always make me wonder how little things change the whole perception. One of the gourmet items born on the desks of the marketing specialists, hired to raise the sales of a product. Anyway, it is a really tasty mushroom. The taste is earthy and rich and vegetarians like it as a good meat substitute.
Served with ricotta cheese and buttery garlic, it is a good company for a glas of white wine. 

  • 6 portobello mushrooms
  • 50 g butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 100 g ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place a grill-pan over medium-high heat. Clean mushrooms and remove stems from the caps - they are woody and not worth eating. Brush both sides of the caps with olive oil and put over the grill. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until slight grill marks appear.  
Heat the butter in a pan and sautee garlic for 2 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the pan, sprinkle some lemon juice above and pour the garlic butter.  Spread some ricotta cheese on every cap and add a pinch of coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley. You can prepare a galic-olive oil-lemon juice marinade in advance and soak the grilled mushrooms into it, but you should now - this mushrooms are like sponges and they can absorb really a lot of the marinade.

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