Let’s begin with an astonishing mushroom fact that I recently learned. As legend has it, the “portobello” is basically an over-grown brown “crimini” mushroom. In fact, it’s not even originating from Italy as one might think. Turns out, these delicious large brown mushrooms are simply the large, over-grown version of the crimini mushroom. Astonishingly, the portobello is just a marketing ploy that the American’s began in the early 1990’s. However in Italy, the large overgrown ‘crimini’ is called “cappellone”. Simply put…big hat!
What makes a crimini a portobello? Size. The size must reach 4 to 6″ in diameter. With the obvious ‘size’, comes the meaty texture, or flesh of the mushroom that allows it to be perfect for a burger! These large, yet delicate ‘big hat’ mushrooms can be served whole on the burger, or sliced in half. Size wise and taste wise, it’s an obvious contender to the meat burger.
As a vegan, my vote has been cast. The portobello mushroom burger delivers a huge level of taste, texture and a wonderful dining experience. With the exception of the mushroom, nothing has to die here for this dish. I’m sorry, dear mushroom friend, but sometimes there must be a sacrifice made with out blood. Your particular sacrifice provided a wonderful meal, and for that I thank you!
Availability is not always easy
Unfortunately, portobello’s aren’t so easy to find in my area. Being that they are just over-grown crimini mushrooms, I’m assuming the reason to be a matter of low demand. All I can say is try these burgers, then watch the demand sky rocket! What started in the 1990’s as a marketing scheme in America, has evolved into a 30+ million dollar a year industry. I’d say the trend is catching on…
A delicious marinade is key
Just as with any meat burger, or meat grill, the marinade and pre-work of flavoring the meat is just as important with the portobello mushroom burger. I happen to know that balsamic vinegar, garlic and rosemary are great ‘woody’ flavors that compliment the mushroom. Let the large caps marinade for up to 30 minutes. Be sure to turn them over half way through the marinade. Thus allowing the balsamic herby flavors to be absorbed. Use a brush to really paint the marinade on the inside of the mushrooms.
Portobello Mushroom Burger
- 4 large portobello mushrooms don't wash, just wipe down with a wet cloth.
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- 2 TBS fresh rosemary whole or chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 4 large burger buns heated in the oven for crispness
- additional burger toppings lettuce, onions, avocado, tomato
- in a large baking dish, add your liquid marinade, then put the mushrooms in. Paint the above side with the marinade.
- Add more rosemary if desired, and let marinade on one side for about 15 minutes or more.
- flip sides, and be sure to paint more marinade on the exposed or above sideafter about 30 minutes, put baking dish with marinade and mushrooms in the oven @ 200 Celsius. Bake for about 7 min on each side, brushing the marinade in between the turn.
- take out and pair with your burger bun
- Build your burger and enjoy!