Vegan MoFo 2017 – Day 23: Let’s Make Some Fancy Vegan Food!

Fancy Vegan Food

“Surf ‘n Turf”

Pan Roasted Portobello Steaks with Lobster Mushrooms, Potato Puree, Blistered Haricots Verts, Charred Onion Petals and Chimichurri

Time to clean-up, dress-up and get ready to feast! It’s fancy food time. While I tend to cook more casual food on a day-to-day basis, I do love the results that come from putting a lot of time and care into a meal. My early training as a chef was in a fine-dining restaurant and the skills I learned there have been invaluable throughout my career. More time and energy is spent on designing a dish, choosing those components which best support the focus of the plate. Those components are given as much care and attention as whatever the ‘star’ of the plate is. Cooking techniques are chosen for best results, not for efficiency in production. That ethos can be just as easily applied to a tomato sandwich as a really fancy plate. Choice of bread, spread and garnish, all in support of perfect sun-ripened tomatoes can take a simple sandwich from ‘meh’ to ‘wow’.

Fancy Vegan Food

Today, we’re spending some time with mushrooms in a bit of surf and turf. Pan roasted Portobello steaks get pan roasted, then braised in a light mushroom stock becoming the ‘turf’, while Lobster mushrooms stand in for the ‘surf’. They are combined with a lighter than air potato puree, tender French green beans that have been seared in a hot pan, a little blistered onion, and a herby chimichurri, the classic accompaniment to Argentinean steak. The Portobello braising liquid also gets served as a rich pan jus.

Pan Roasted Portobellos

This dish takes time. If you work fairly quickly, you could have it on the table in an hour. But plan on a bit more. The chimichurri is best if it is made at least a few hours before serving, or up to a day ahead. If you don’t fancy spending that kind of time on dinner, try the chimichurri. It’s great on anything that comes off the grill.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Fancy Vegan Food!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 servings
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup picked fresh oregano leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup picked fresh parsley leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Onion Petals
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in half, inner pieces separated, smallest 2-4 ‘petals’ reserved
  • Vegetable oil
Potato Puree
  • 8 oz Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegan butter, preferably a homemade variety
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk, I used soy milk
Lobster Mushroom
  • 1 – ½oz pack dried lobster mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely minced onion or shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Blistered Haricots Verts
  • About 48 fine French green beans (haricots verts), or about 24 regular green beans
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Portobello Mushroom Steaks
  • 4 ¾-inch thick center cut slices of Portobello mushroom (from two very large mushrooms). Cut the mushroom in half and then cut a ¾-inch thick slice from each half. Reserve the rest for another purpose.
  • 2 tablespoons homemade vegan butter, or olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, flattened, but otherwise left whole
  • Reserved lobster mushroom soaking liquid, strained to remove any grit (best done through a coffee filter)
  • A little finely diced red tomato
  • A little large flake finishing salt, like Maldon or Fleur du Sel
Prepare the Chimichurri (at least a couple hours ahead)
  1. Very finely chop the oregano and parsley. This should take about 5 minutes per herb. Take your time, you want it cut small.
  2. Dissolve the kosher salt in the water
  3. Combine the garlic, red pepper flakes and minced herbs
  4. Stir in the red wine vinegar, then stir in the olive oil
  5. Stir in the salt water mix.
Soak the Lobster Mushrooms
  1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil and pour it over the dried mushroom, allow them to steep for at least 30 minutes to soften.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid, but be sure to keep the liquid for the Portobello Mushrooms later on.
Prepare the Onion Petals
  1. Heat a heavy pan – like cast iron – over medium high heat until hot
  2. Rub a little oil on the cut side of the onions
  3. Place them cut-side down in the pan and leave them to char for about 2 minutes. Once the edge is blackened, flip the onions over and add ½ cup water to the pan.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Once the water stops sim.mering, remove the onions. They will be tender by now.
  5. Set the onion petals aside
Prepare the Potato Puree
  1. Combine the potatoes, salt and 1 quart of water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil
  2. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered until the potatoes are tender
  3. Drain well.
  4. Mash them thoroughly with a potato masher, or pass them through a food mill or ricer.
  5. Stir in the vegan butter until it is completely absorbed
  6. Pass the potato mixture through a super fine strainer (known as a tamis), this will make it ridiculously smooth
  7. Heat the non-dairy milk until just below the boiling point, stir it in to the potatoes. You are look to make them very soft, but still firm enough to hold in a mound. Add more non-dairy milk as needed.
  8. Keep them warm.
Finish the Lobster Mushrooms
  1. Slice the lobster mushrooms in large pieces
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil or butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion or shallot and garlic, cook until tender
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and the colour is vivid. About 5 minutes.
  5. Set aside and keep warm (on a plate, wrapped in foil, in your oven on its lowest setting)
Prepare the Blistered Green Beans
  1. Toss the Haricots Verts in just enough oil to coat them lightly.
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Heat a heavy pan – like cast iron – over medium high heat until very hot.
  4. Add the green beans in a single layer.
  5. Press on them gently so that they stay in contact with the hot pan.
  6. After a minute or so, they should be charred. Flip them and repeat on the other side.
  7. You are looking to remove them when they are tender but will some crispness remaining.
Prepare the Pan Roasted Mushrooms
  1. Heat a heavy pan – like cast iron – over medium heat.
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully score a crosshatch pattern on each side of the mushroom, slicing about ⅛-inch deep. Repeat with the other mushroom pieces
  3. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, place the mushrooms in an even layer in the pan.
  4. Leave undisturbed for a couple of minutes to brown them well. After a couple minutes, give them a look. If they are not a deep golden brown yet, let them keep cooking.
  5. Flip the mushrooms and add the crushed garlic clove to the pan
  6. Allow to sear for another couple of minutes until the second side is well browned.
  7. Pour in the reserved strained mushroom soaking liquid.
  8. Simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, baste the Portobellos frequently during the simmering. It will have reduced in about 5 minutes. Quickly remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  9. Remove the mushrooms from the simmering liquid and keep warm as you assemble the plate.
  10. Ultimately there should be a bit more than 1 tablespoon of the pan jus left.
Plate up!
  1. Place two dinner plates in a low oven to warm (do this when you start the cooking the portobellos ).
  2. Check that all of your components are ready, and that those that need to be hot have been heated
  3. Remove the plates from the oven. Look down on them an imagine the position that the hands of a clock would take (top/bottom 12 and 6, left/right 9 and 3)
  4. Beginning at the 9 o’clock position, just in from the rim, spoon a mound of potato puree. Aim for about the size of a golf ball, maybe a bit more.
  5. Place your spoon near the centre of the puree, rounded back of the spoon facing the right side of the plate, pressing it all the way through until it touches the plate. In one motion, both pull the spoon towards the 3 o’clock position and begin to lower the handle towards the plate. That will create a nice streak of potato.
  6. Place half of the green beans to the right of the main mound of potatoes (pretty much the centre of the plate). All the tips should be pointing in the same direction. Tips pointing to 11 o’clock, stem end to 5 o’clock.
  7. Lay a mound of lobster mushrooms at the 4 o’clock position such that they are next to the stems of the green beans and overlap the end of the potato puree streak.
  8. Lay two of the Portobello mushroom steaks over the green beans. They can be crossed over one another.
  9. Place an onion petal in a position that looks pleasing. Leaning on the portobellos is nice.
  10. Spoon a little of the chimichurri over top f the mushroom.
  11. Spoon half of the reserved mushroom jus in a circle around the plate, between the rim and the rest of the food.
  12. Sprinkle over a little bit of the finely diced tomatoes in areas that you feel need a touch more colour.
  13. Sprinkle a little finishing salt on the Portobello mushrooms.
  14. With a warm, damp towel, wipe the plate rim to remove any mess or fingerprints.
  15. “Hands Please! Entrees, table 2, hot food!”

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  • Reply
    October 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    This is perhaps the most impressive dish I’ve ever seen! I was trying to form a cohesive thought on the recipe and ingredients, but I just can’t move past how amazing it looks!

    • Reply
      Two Happy Rabbits
      October 24, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Thanks, Jenny! That’s kind of you

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    Watermelon ‘Steak’ and 7 Other Vegan Fine-Dining Dishes That’ll Blow Your Mind | Northern Resistance Media
    January 30, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    […] Think surf and turf but kind. The “turf” is made up of sliced, pan-roasted portobello mushrooms, while the “surf” is created by combining lobster mushrooms (not real lobsters—that’s just what they’re called) with a potato purée. For the full recipe, visit vegan blog Two Happy Rabbits. […]

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Why does the chimichurri have to be prepared a couple of hours ahead? Great recipes by the way.
    ~Kisses in the kitchen

    • Reply
      Two Happy Rabbits
      March 26, 2020 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Aya, the flavour meld together and become more cohesive if they have some time. It tastes good when you first put it together, but it really tastes of all the individual ingredients. Give it a few hours, or better still, a day and everything blends together. If you don’t have the time to let it sit, just make it first and it will still be good!

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