copper, selenium, folic acid, and biotin. They are low in
calories and are a surprising protein source. In fact, as a
percentage of calories, the protein content of mushrooms
is 38% -- more than the percentage for beans (except
soy), grains, nuts, most vegetables, and all fruit.
I recently purchased portobellos at Ranch 99 Market
on Pearce Street in Richmond, but I’ve seen and bought
many kinds of mushrooms at various local groceries
and farmers markets. The latter is my favorite source
as there’s no need to have imported mushrooms (from
Canada) served up on a styrofoam tray and covered with
plastic when those from local growers are fresher and
more simply (and “greenly”) provided.
Because most mushrooms are grown indoors in
controlled conditions, they are available year-round.
The majority of grocery stores stocks the popular ones
(portobello, button, shiitake -- with or without the
tray and plastic). You can also grow your own. Fungi
Perfecti (fungi.com), one of many sources, has indoor
growing kits if you are botanically-inclined and have
quite a bit of patience (first flushes of the mushrooms
might take several months to begin!).
For cooking, mushrooms are very versatile. Simply
sauté them in butter, wine, and a little salt and pepper.
Or stuff them. Or grill them. Or chop them and add
them to omelets, soups, casseroles, or gravies. They have
a meat-like heft and texture, add a great earthy flavor,
and are loaded with health-promoting nutrition.
Makes four servings.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• 8 large portobello mushrooms
(about 3”- 4” in diameter)
• extra virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
• 6 cups, lightly packed, baby spinach
The Breadcrumb Topping
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
The Goat Cheese
• 1 8-ounce log of soft chevre/goat cheese, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wipe mushroom caps with
a damp paper towel. Carefully cut out the stems (some
people also like to scoop out the gills with a spoon).
Place the mushrooms on a wire rack inside a shallow
sheet pan. Place them with their gills facing down. Brush
the caps with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Next, wash and
spin dry the baby spinach. Chop the shallot. In a large
Two portobellos -- topped with sautéed spinach, marinara sauce, and
crunchy goat cheese -- are ample as a delicious entrée. Add salad and
you have a colorful, healthy, and very filling meal
skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil and sauté the shallot, stirring
frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes until translucent and soft.
Add the spinach. Sauté on medium high heat until just
wilted. Set aside. Next, in the same skillet, melt 2 T. butter
over low heat. Add the other chopped shallot and cook
for approximately 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add
the panko breadcrumbs and the garlic. Toast for three to
four minutes, continuing to stir, until the breadcrumbs are
a golden brown. Transfer to a large plate or shallow bowl.
Next, reduce oven to 425 degrees. Turn the mushroom
caps over on the wire rack, gills up. Cover each cap with
marinara sauce. Add spinach/shallot mix on top. Next, slice
the goat cheese into 1/2” thick slices. Flatten each slice a
bit, maintaining the round shape. Press the goat cheese slices
into the panko mixture to coat them completely. Place goat
cheese rounds on top of the spinach/shallot mix. Sprinkle
on remaining breadcrumbs. Bake at 425 degrees for about
10 minutes, checking to make sure the breadcrumbs don’t
burn. When the breadcrumbs are golden and the goat
cheese is starting to melt, remove from the oven and serve