Mushroom Sandwiches

While I have no photo for you, I did make dinner tonight–portabella mushroom sandwiches. While Mr. Pea said they were good, I’m on the fence, and it’s mostly because of user error.

Portabella mushrooms are great big fungi. I’ve tried making them on the grill with some luck, but tonight I did them in a deep skillet/saucepan. After taking off their woody stems (I bought HUGE caps), I dusted the dirt off of them, placed a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, and made mistake #1: I turned the heat up too high. My idea was to sear the caps, but what ended up happening was that the parts of the pan that did not have direct contact with the mushrooms got reaaaaally hot. Then when I flipped the caps, the bits of cap stuck to the pan that weren’t now covered (ie, I can’t flip onto the exact same spot) got reaaaaallly hot, and a little smoky, even after just a couple of minutes.. I splashed the caps with Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and covered the pot. If the pan wasn’t so hot, the mushrooms would have generated enough liquid for a gentle steam. Instead, we got a bit of steam and a whole lot of water that just made the hot mess of the pan worse–we got crazy amounts of smoke. If I was paying attention, I would have caught this, but I was dawdling online and didn’t notice until the kitchen was terribly smokey. Olive oil smoke is really pretty nasty, too. Then I added the cheese and covered the pan, adding water to the pan and turning the heat down. While this caused the burning and smoking to stop, the steam that resulted flavored the delicate mozzarella I made this afternoon expressly for a tasty mushroom topping and instead of creamy dairy goodness, it just tasted like portabella and olive oil smoke. While they weren’t terrible, these sandwiches were not what I’d hoped, either. However, they would be really tasty with just a little modification, mostly to the heat–keeping the heat at medium would eliminate the smoke and the burned flavor of the cheese.

Lesson learned!

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2 responses »

  1. With just the amount of water mushrooms exude in general, I always suggest grilling or roasting. I only pan-fry them if they’re going to be in a sauce or served on top of something (ie steak.)

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