Monday, July 19, 2010

Bye Bye Beef, Hello Portobello

For those of us who proudly call ourselves meat-eaters, we can indulge in the occasional juicy beef burger. The ground beef used in a typical burger patty is 80/20 chuck; 80% lean to 20% fat. This is one of the fattier cuts of beef out there. It absolutely produces a flavorful, tender burger patty, but you certainly don’t need me to tell you that it’s not a wise choice for a diet staple.

A popular alternative to beef is the veggie burger. A lot of the supermarket variety veggie patties in the freezer case are trying too desperately hard to taste like meat. The veggies are pureed within an inch of their life and combined with a variety of grains and fillers to mimic the taste and texture of beef. I don’t get it. I like veggie burgers. But I like them to taste like veggies. Broccoli should be proud to be broccoli and not have to wear a disguise to be accepted!

The easiest way for a veggie burger to taste like a veggie is to use the vegetable in its truest form. Hence, the Portobello mushroom. It’s burger shaped and easily absorbs whatever flavor you choose to add to it. Perfect!

I got the idea for this CHEESY PORTOBELLO BURGER WITH LEMON MAYO from watching an episode of Emeril Green on the Planet Green channel. That’s such a great show. Viewers write in with a cooking dilemma and Chef Emeril saves the day by inviting them to cook with him right in the middle of a Whole Foods market using fresh, local produce. Right up my alley.

The Portobello caps soak in a balsamic-based marinade. I would strongly recommend patting the mushrooms dry when you pull them out of their marinating bath. A soggy mushroom leads to a soggy bun and a soggy bun is NOT good eats.

The “burgers” are topped with creamy blue cheese. I know you probably want to get on my case for using full-fat blue cheese in a healthy recipe. I consider the mushroom to be a blank canvas. They’re free. You can eat as many mushrooms as you want on any diet, so the addition of blue cheese isn’t adding an obscene amount of calories to the overall dish. I will admit, I’m false advertising in the photo a bit. I tried the recipe with feta cheese for the close-up since I had it in the fridge. Go for the blue cheese, it’s totally worth it.

Emeril whips up his own fancy lemon aioli to go along with this burger. The first time I made this recipe, I tried the aioli and failed miserably. Rather than risking the loss of a ton of olive oil on round two, I doctored up some plain old mayo to make it simpler. The tangy lemon mayo sauce balances the richness of the blue cheese. Grilled red onion adds just enough sweetness and crunch.

This Portobello really gives the almighty beef burger a run for its money. Meat eater or vegetarian, give it a go.

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Portobello Mushrooms on Foodista

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I LOVE Portobello burgers. And thanks for the tip on drying them off. I was wondering why my burgers and other dishes were kind of soggy.