Make dinner tonight, inspired!

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? This is your place for quick and healthy meal inspirations. Here you'll find recipes for seasonally focused dinners, desserts, breakfasts, and everything in between.

My cooking focuses on the freshest ingredients prepared in a simple and careful way, to highlight their uniqueness. My own diet is primarily vegetarian, but does include sustainable fish and seafood, and is gluten free.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes with you!

07 June 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Caprese

Tonight's dinner is one my easiest summer meals. It comes together quickly on the grill with very little prep ahead of time. It's both hearty and fresh at the same time. It's a perfect vegetarian alternative if you're having folks like me over for a BBQ. All of the ingredients are in season throughout the summer months so it's perfect to make now.

The portobello mushroom is essentially just an overgrown crimini (italian brown mushroom). They're nothing particularly fancy or special but they are very flavorful and 'meaty'. For that reason they take well to grilling as they become juicy and tender and hold up well on a hot grill.

A Caprese salad is just a tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella salad. Those three ingredients are truly a match made in heaven, each simple ingredient elevating the other. Use the freshest ingredients you can find here as there's very little 'cooking' involved so each element really needs to stand on its own. I typically just use fresh cow's milk mozzarella here but feel free to use buffalo mozzarella if you prefer.

A perfect side dish for this dinner would be grilled polenta squares or grilled corn. Tonight we had simple grilled corn, the first of the season here, and a green salad. It was light and satisfying and very summery! Perfect for an evening of sipping white wine while dining al fresco.


Grilled Portobellos with Caprese Salad:
Yields 4 servings

For the mushrooms:
4 medium portobello mushrooms
1 TB olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1) Prep the mushrooms by removing their inner 'gills'. Scrape them out gently with a teaspoon. This keeps them from turning everything else in the salad an off-grey color and in my opinion lightens the overall flavor. I also remove the outer skin. You should be able to just peel this back carefully with your fingers.

2) Once the mushrooms are prepped, with the gill side facing up, drizzle them with the olive oil & balsamic and season with salt & pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to marinate while your grill heats up.

3) When the grill is ready, place the mushrooms 'gill side up' on the hot grill. Grill until juicy and tender, turning once halfway through. This should take about 5-7 minutes at 450 degrees.
While they are cooking, prep the Caprese salad.

For the Caprese Salad:
3/4 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed and thinly sliced
2 balls fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1" dice
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

1) In a medium bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes, the diced mozzarella, and the sliced basil leaves. Drizzle with the olive oil & vinegar and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2) When the mushrooms are ready, top each one with about 1/3 cup of the Caprese mixture. Serve while mushrooms are warm.

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