Grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches
To achieve their immense size, portobello mushrooms have a long growing cycle. In the process, some of the mushrooms' moisture evaporates. This concentrates and enriches the flavor and creates a dense, meaty texture, making portobellos ideal for grilling. This is the perfect choice for vegetarians, yet be prepared because others will want to try the giant grilled mushrooms.
For the Sun-Dried Tomato-Chevre Spread
2 tablespoons minced oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons (about 1 ounce) chevre cheese
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
Dash of salt, or to taste
For the sandwich filling
2 large portobello mushroom caps
Two ¼-inch-thick red onion slices
Olive oil, as needed
Dash of freshly ground pepper
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 medium-size arugula leaves
For the bread
2 crusty French onion rolls, halved horizontally
Prepare the grill.
Process all of the spread ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is nearly smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To prepare the sandwich filling, brush the rounded tops of the mushrooms and the onion slices with olive oil. Arrange them, oiled sides down, on a grill rack about 4 to 5 inches from medium-hot coals. (Or cook the vegetables on a stovetop grill pan.) Cook for about 5 minutes; brush the other sides with additional oil, then turn. Cook about 5 more minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle lightly with pepper and salt. Cover to keep warm.
To assemble each sandwich, spread half of the sun-dried tomato mixture on the cut sides of the roll. Sprinkle the bottom half of the roll with cheese, then add the following layers: arugula leaves, onion slices, and mushroom. Close the sandwich; fasten with long sandwich picks. Slice in half and serve warm.
The spread will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Grill the vegetables and assemble the sandwiches just before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.