Portobello mushroom caps are wonderful when baked in the oven, but I find they can lose a lot of moisture along the way. Pan roasting, and specifically glazing like I do in this recipe, produces a rich tasting, super moist cap that is perfect for almost any purpose.
The technique here is pretty simple:
- Brown the cap well in a little oil. Take your time; you only get one shot to build that deep brown color. In fact, err on the side of darker. If you are thinking ‘is this dark enough?’, it’s probably not!
- Flip it and add some aromatics; here I use thyme and garlic. You could use rosemary in place of, or in addition to, the thyme. Fresh herbs are best here as dried will likely burn. If you have to use dried herbs add them after you add the water to the pan.
- Add a little water to the pan. This will start to steam the mushroom, but it will cook off quickly, so you’ll need to add more
- Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, and baste the mushroom as the water evaporates. This creates a bit of intensely flavored mushroom broth that also helps to keep the mushroom moist.
- When the water in the pan has evaporated, add more, a tablespoon at a time, continuing to baste.
- Keep repeating until the mushroom is cooked. I like to check by flipping them over and pressing where the stem used to be. It should yield to pressure and hold a bit of an indentation. For a large, meaty cap this could take 15-20 minutes.
- Let the water reduce to a glaze, then transfer the mushroom to a plate. Taste a bit of the glaze and get ready for a crazy ‘meaty’ flavor. I like the save any of the liquid that collects with the mushroom sits on the plate to add a hearty rich flavor to mayonnaise.
They can be served hot, right from the pan, or chilled and used later. Once cold, they can be thinly sliced and used as a chilled ‘roast beef’ substitute. Split them in half horizontally and stuff with your favorite non-dairy cheese and bake (or bread and fry!) until hot. Or simply toss with a little oil and reheat them on the grill for the moistest mushroom burger you’ll find. Try these as part of our Shaved Portobello Sandwich with Roasted Onions and Black Pepper-Horseradish Mayo
- 1 large Portobello mushroom, stem trimmed away (can be frozen and saved for stock)
- 1 ½ teaspoons oil – canola, vegetable, refined coconut
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and flattened with the side of a knife
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is perfect for this) over medium heat until it is quite hot.
- Add the oil. When it shimmers (meaning it’s hot) add the Portobello, cap-side down.
- Allow it to sear and brown for several minutes, around 3-4. When it has browned quite a bit, flip is over. Add the garlic and thyme, and sear for another couple of minutes.
- Lower the heat and add a couple of tablespoons of water. It will sizzle and evaporate pretty quickly. Add a couple more tablespoons of water.
- Using a spoon, baste the mushroom cap with the liquid in the pan. Do this frequently as the mushroom cooks.
- As the water evaporates, add more water a tablespoon at a time, basting frequently, until the mushroom is tender. Test this by flipping the mushroom over, cap side down and press at the point where the stem used to be, you should be able to push an indent in to it. This is likely to take 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the mushroom.
- When the Portobello is cooked, reduce the liquid until there is only a slight glaze remaining.
- Transfer to a plate along with any glaze remaining.
- Serve hot, or chill or another purpose.
- Save any liquid that comes off of the mushrooms to add to a sauce