Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad

Whenever I have guests over, I like to serve a salad before the meal. It's something I can make ahead of time, toss together when ready, and serve whenever seems best. I'll often serve the salad while I'm waiting for something else to cook. This gives my guests something to eat besides the usual cheese or olives and adds another component to the meal as a whole. I find that a few simple, tasty ingredients can mix together and make a great salad. To challenge myself and keep my guests interested, I try to make different salads as often as possible. Although I love my roasted beet salad, it's good to mix things up a bit. I also try to use as many ingredients from the farmers' market as possible. Fortunately, there were a good number of lettuces at the Durham Farmers' Market as well as some delicious, creamy goat cheese from Celebrity Dairy. I chose the peppercorn crusted variety but any flavor would lend a unique taste to the mix. To add a meaty, hearty component to my salad, I decided to go with portobello mushrooms. They're thick, flavorful and even better when grilled. I mixed in some toasted sunflower seeds for crunch and topped it all with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The result was a great combination of flavors and textures that made for a perfect start to the whole meal.

Portobello Salad (Serves 6)
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean
  • 1/2 log of goat cheese, about 3-4 oz
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 10-12 cups lettuce mix (I used baby mixed and red leaf)
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 6 tbsp olive oil (or so, depending on how tangy you like your dressing)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and brush both sides lightly with olive oil.
Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Place mushrooms on the hot grill, top down.
Grill for about 6-8 minutes, making sure not to burn the tops.
Flip them and grill the other side for another 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
Remove and season with salt and pepper.
Let cool and slice into 1/2 inch strips.
Toast the sunflowers in a small, dry pan, stirring constantly so the nuts don't burn, about 5 minutes.
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or small container with a lid, whisking to combine.
This can all be done ahead of time and held until you're ready to eat.
Toss the lettuce, crumbled goat cheese and sunflowers seeds in the dressing.
Plate the salad and lay a few strips of mushroom over each.

For a printable recipe click here

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad on FoodistaGrilled Portobello Mushroom Salad

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