Monday, November 22, 2010

Meatless Monday: Portobello Burgers

Have you been to the Burger's Priest?  This question only applies if you live in Toronto or have visited in the last 6 or 7 months, but it's a very serious question.  If you are in Toronto and haven't been, go today. Go for lunch, dinner, a snack, just go.

What does a place called Burger's Priest have to do with Meatless Monday?  I mean it makes no sense, right?  Wrong!  While it is any red-blooded burger loving carnivores dream, we aren't talking about meat today.  We are talking about veggies and specifically veggie burgers.  The Priest's answer to a veggie burger is something called "The Option." Sounds vague, right?  Totally vague, but when you ask you are told it's two portobello caps, sandwiched together and filled with cheese, breaded in Panko and fried.   I don't care whether you are a meat-lover or not, you have to admit this sounds good and completely unlike any veggie burger you've ever had.  At least it did to me.

I was at the Priest earlier in the month when my friend JM was visiting.  She's is a pescatarian and having heard about The Option from me, really wanted to try it.  Now my burger was delicious, but when I say her ooey, gooey burger of mushrooms and cheese looked unreal, it's an understatement.  I mean this burger flies right in the face of anyone who thinks being a vegetarian automatically means you are eating healthier.   Recognizing that, while nice once in awhile, this is far from a healthy option I wanted to see if I could recreate "The Option" at home but in a bit healthier of a way.

Portobello Burger
serves 2
Printable Recipe

4 medium-sized Portobello caps - not the massive ones, make sure they are all about the same size
3 Tbsps extra virgin Olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced tomato
sliced onion
garlic aioli - see recipe below
2 wheat buns - I made some buns with HBin5 Master recipe, baked without steam to keep them soft

1.  Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp cloth and set aside.  Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt & pepper in a bowl and toss the mushroom caps in the marinade. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
2.  Heat a grill pan over medium heat until it's very hot.  Place the mushrooms in the heated pan, two with the top of the caps down and two with the tops up.  Grill for 5 minutes.  Flip and grill for another 2 minutes.
3.  Fill 2 caps with shredded cheddar cheese and top each with another mushroom.  Grill like this for 2 minutes.  Carefully flip with a spatula, using your hand to support the top cap if necessary and grill for another two minutes until the cheese is melted.  I covered the pan here to help melt the cheese.
4.  Spread garlic aioli on the bottom half of the bun, top with thinly slice onion.  Place the mushrooms on the onion and top with a slice of tomato and the top of the bun.  Serve!

Garlic Aioli

1 clove of garlic - finely minced
1 egg yolk
neutral flavored oil
lemon juice
salt & pepper

Place egg yolk and minced garlic into a medium sized bowl.  Slowly, one drop at a time pour in oil and you whisk.  It will start to emulsify, continue adding oil and whisking until to a mayonnaise-y consistency.  Adjust seasoning with a touch of lemon juice, salt & pepper.

This is a winner!  I'm generally not interested in veggie patties, they seem to be made up of all sort of ingredients trying to be a beef burger, when I'd rather just a beef burger.  This is not trying to be a beef burger at all and yet it is so meaty and satisfying.  The boy really liked it and said he'd happily eat it again.  I was all over it and made it again for lunch the next day.   We are burger people, they are hard to make in the long cold winter, you can broil them or use a grill pan, but let's be honest a burger cooked inside makes your house smell like burgers for days.   This one was as satisfying without smelling up the house, it will absolutely be making repeat appearances.

Is it the same as "the Option"?  No.  But it is a great alternative to make at home and little more heart healthy.  Simple and fast this might be my favorite Meatless Monday thus far.   Let me know if you make it and let me know if you get to the Burger's Priest.


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