The Humble Fungus - Jorj Morgan
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The Humble Fungus

You’ve seen them in the produce section, those over-sized, imposing mushrooms that are earthy tan colored. These fungi have black gills on their underside and a thick woody stem. They might not be all that appealing in their native state, but boy are they great grilled, roasted and stuffed! It gets even better when you find out that these Portobello mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D.

Because they are so meaty, you can substitute Portobello mushrooms in many meat dishes, and lots of good cooks do this all the time. But, when you make the mushroom the actual star of your meal, you can adapt a whole new attitude! Here’s a recipe that I played around with this week. Let me know what you think.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

With Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Pancetta & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Serves 4 for a Veggie Main or 8 as an Appy

30 Minute Cuisine

The goat cheese is remarkable in this appy! The goat cheese is remarkable in this appy!

Spending quality time in the Farmer’s market naturally leads to veggie forward main meals. This is one of these. There’s nothing better than meaty mushrooms, with a tangy, crunchy filling! You can serve these mushrooms as a first course, or as a late-night snack. The flavors are fantastic – everyone is a mushroom lover after tasting this dish!

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 more for sauce

1 (3.5-ounce) julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained but save 2 tablespoons of the oil

4 ounces pancetta, finely diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tablespoons

¼ cup Marsala wine

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

8 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl. Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet. Toast the buttered crumbs until they begin to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into a skillet over medium high heat. And the pancetta and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a platter lined with paper towels.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the wine has disappeared, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice. Season with some of the salt, crushed red pepper and parsley. Turn off the heat and swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a grill pan on high heat. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, turning once, until they are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes total. Add the goat cheese into the cap of the mushrooms, turn off the heat and cover with aluminum foil to allow the cheese to melt. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter. Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes over the cheese, into the mushroom caps. Top with pancetta and toasted breadcrumbs.

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