Portabello Mushroom Sandwich a la Giet!
Remembering the fantastic roast vegetable wraps I used to have as my regular lunch at Harvard's Dudley House, I had an ambition of making a grilled mushroom sandwich, as an alternative to our lovely tomato sandwich staple. But I never seemed to get around to it, until today! The result was a crisp goat's cheese toast topped with meaty, juicy portabello mushrooms, herbs and a basil dressing. We had it with the smoky/salty/sweet salad, and felt like royalty.
It's called "a la Giet" because it combines all of my fiance Liam's favourite things in one place...mushrooms (particularly since they are fried in butter), cheese, fried sage and my home made pesto too (recipe for that forthcoming). They aren't the most waist conscious of dinner plans, but they are vegetarian, and very tasty. If you want to make a lower fat version, grill the mushrooms instead of frying and drizzle with olive oil when they are done: as long as the mushrooms are fresh they will be juicy and fabulous.
I used a walnut bread from Pain Quotidien, which was a great compliment to the slightly smoky sweetness of the portabello, but you could experiment with rye or raisin or whatever you have to hand!
4 Portabello Mushroom caps
Tarragon leaves (roughly chopped)
Sage leaves, one bunch.
Good quality unsalted butter
Soft, light goat's cheese.
Fleur de Sel or Malden Salt
4 slices of robust bread.
Pesto sauce (home-made is best)
Juice of one lemon
Turn the oven on grill and allow to heat while you wash the mushrooms and herbs and slice the bread.
Put a large frying pan onto a medium heat, and put the bread in to the dry frying pan when hot. I still believe that this method makes the best toast because you have a lot more control. When the bread is just becoming brown, take it off the heat and put to one side. Now put a pat of butter into the frying pan, and allow to foam. Add a small handful of sage leaves and fry in the butter until crispy. Put aside, with the butter they were cooked in, in a small bowl.
Spread the toasts generously with the soft goat's cheese. Put the toasts into the oven under the grill.
Put another pat of butter into the frying pan over a medium heat, and allowing the butter to foam, add the portabellos, placing them on their backs (the rounded side). Sprinkle with salt and half of the chopped tarragon. Once one side of the mushrooms have gotten cooked and soft, turn them over. It's possible you may need to add a little more butter at this point.
Check the toasts. Once the cheese is just bubbling and getting brown remove from the oven and put on a large plate.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, place one on each cheesy toast...I'm not sure whether cap up or down is better...you be the judge! Don't forget to pour the juices over too. :)
Put 1 1/2 tbsp of pesto into a small bowl, and add the juice of one lemon, and a tbsp or two of boiling water. Blend to make a sauce, then drizzle over the mushroom toasts.
Sprinkle the rest of the tarragon, a pinch of fleur de sel and some black pepper on, and garnish with the fried sage.
Then eat with wild abandon.
Photo Credit: Liam C. Giet