Meaty portobello mushrooms form the basis of this vegetarian entree. Look for thick, rather than flat, mushrooms so they're easier to slice in half. Here, they are roasted, then stuffed with the fillings of your choice and topped with a nutty nondairy sauce. We opted for roasted onion and chard fillings; other ideas include buttermilk mashed potatoes, roasted eggplant or spice-rubbed tofu.
Chinese chili sauce is available in the international aisle of most major supermarkets and at Asian specialty stores.
Serve with a salad.
- For the mushrooms and roasted onion filling
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (may substitute low-sodium soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or water
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 6 large (24 to 36 ounces) portobello mushroom caps, halved horizontally with a serrated knife
- 1 large red onion, cut into six 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the cashew 'cream' sauce
- 1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the chard and garlic filling
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons dry white wine or water
- 1 bunch red, green or rainbow chard, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 cups packed)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the portobello mushrooms and roasted onion filling: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet lightly coated with nonstick spray oil.
In a wide, shallow dish, combine the garlic, soy sauce, chili sauce, wine or water and 1/4 cup of the oil, mixing well. Dip each mushroom half into the garlic soy sauce mixture. Place mushrooms and onion slices on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the onion slices with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
For the cashew "cream" sauce: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cashews and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer the cashew mixture to a blender or food processor and add the salt. Blend on high for 2 to 3 minutes, or until completely smooth and slightly thickened. Set aside.
For the chard and garlic filling: In a large saute pan over high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, taking care not to let it burn. Add the wine or water (be careful; it could spatter). Add the chard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until the chard is wilted.
To assemble: Reassemble the mushrooms, with a roasted onion slice and some of the chard filling between the mushroom layers. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until heated through. Transfer to plates and spoon some cashew sauce on top.
Adapted from "Celebrating the Seasons" (Happy Palate Press, 2006, $19.95), by John Littlewood, executive chef at the Westerbeke Ranch retreat center in Sonoma, Calif.
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.