On a balmy early summer evening, you have almost no excuse to get outside and use the grill. When my mom called me yesterday and told me she had picked up a package of slider-sized portobello mushrooms, I said I would be over the next night to grill them up. The catch? My mother had convinced herself that she didn't like mushrooms. Now, I get that mushrooms are kind of weird. They have a unique texture that you don't find anywhere else, they taste really earthy, and are more or less freaky looking. But they are so great in terms of versatility of use and how well they take flavor. Regardless, I had a tall order ahead of me - make my mom a mushroom convert.
For tonight's meal, we decided to marinate and grill the portobellos. Mushrooms are like little sponges, so marinating them is always a good idea. After a trip through my parents' cabinets, I found plenty of ingredients to use. In a bowl, I combined olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a bit of herbed basting oil, lemon juice and zest, a touch of mustard to bring it all together, and salt and pepper. Then I laid the mushrooms gill/stem side up, and poured the marinade in each one. I let them sit while I went for a quick 4 mile run, then we popped them on the grill. They cooked maybe 4 minutes on each side, until they had nice grill marks and were hot all the way through. I also brushed some of the basting oil on the top of the mushrooms while they were grilling. Right before they were done, I put slices of maple smoked cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese Company on top and let it melt. This cheese is out of control delicious. I served the cheesy portobellos open faced style on a slider bun, and topped them with sliced avocado and pickled red peppers. On the side, my mom made a quick potato hash with sweet potatoes, waxy yellow potatoes, and onions. This meal was so hearty and delicious, and guess what? My mom liked the mushroom! She even said it could stand in for a burger - exactly! Tonight's meal was a big success in terms of both flavor and finding new foods to enjoy.