Judging by its abundant offering and prominent position in the produce section of most grocery stores the Portobello mushroom is enjoying great popularity. And it’s no wonder. It is a food that wears many hats, or dare I say, caps. Its culinary use varies from main dish centerpiece to minced side dish additive. It is celebrated by cooks of many cultures, gracing dishes from Italian lasagna to the great American burger. It is a treasured favorite of vegetarians and vegans as a meat substitute.
The dependable Portobello, with its musky, earthy flavor and firm, silky texture marinates quickly and cooks even faster, with equal and foolproof success in the pan, on the grill or in the oven.
It’s just so darn fun and easy to cook with and so predictably delicious.
To prepare your Portobello for your recipe du jour you’ll need a small knife, a dry mushroom brush (or any small brush with longish, soft bristles) and a tea spoon (or any small spoon with a tapered edge to facilitate scraping into and scooping out small spaces) to remove the gills from the underside of the cap. You don’t have to remove the gills, some cooks leave them – it’s just an aesthetic thing.
Lightly brush away any loose dirt with the dry brush.
Cut the stem off where it joins the underside of the cap.
Hold your hand in front of you, palm facing up. Cradle the top of the cap in the palm of your hand over your sink to catch the debris. With the spoon held in your other hand, remove the gills from the underside of the cap by gently scooping and scraping so as not to break or gouge the cap.
Gently brush away any loose scrapings that remain on the underside of the cap. Don’t worry about the ones that are difficult to remove.
Rinse the brush in water. Holding the mushroom over the sink to catch the debris, gently brush the mushroom all over with the wet brush, re-wetting the brush as necessary, until the mushroom is clean. Again, don’t worry about getting every little piece of “dirt” off.
Now you ready to start cooking with your prepped Portobello!