Impromptu Cookout: Meaty Marinated Portabella Mushroom Sandwich

It’s summer! Officially! I went in for half a day of school to hand in my last paperwork for the school year, and I’m off. In true summer style, we had a completely unplanned trip to our family’s ‘camp’ for a cookout until the sun started to set.

Large portabella mushroom caps. Yum!

Large portabella mushroom caps. Yum!

Usually, like many cookouts, this means lots of hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and marshmallows cooked over an open fire at my brother-in-law’s ‘camp’ (lovingly called “Briland”). With just a couple of hours’ warning, we needed to come up with some food to eat, and I needed to quickly come up with an idea for a vegetarian option for myself. It needed to be fast, easy, something that I could convince my carnivore family members would be a good dish to eat along side their burgers and ‘dogs.

So, as we passed through the produce aisle of the grocery store, I bagged nine huge portabella mushrooms, then grabbed a couple of bags of in-store-baked rolls, sliced swiss cheese and a bottle of my favorite quick, delicious marinade: Spiede Sauce.

Mushrooms and the bottle of Spiede (pronounced like 'speedy') Sauce. Delicious stuff!

Mushrooms and the bottle of Spiede (pronounced like ‘speedy’) Sauce. Delicious stuff!

Grilled portabella mushroom sandwiches are not exactly that innovative, really, but it was a quick and easy one. Also, super tasty!

If you’ve never tried Spiede Sauce, you must. It’s based on Greek flavoring, I believe, and is a gorgeous blend of vinegar, oil, garlic and lots of spices like rosemary and basil. Before I went vegetarian, we often marinated our chicken in it before grilling. Tonight though, I marinated the big beefy mushrooms in it and when cooked over an open fire … mmmmmm!

Let that mushroom cook until it was a little caramelized, and it took on a gorgeous, smoky, spicy flavor. Topped it with a slice of the Swiss cheese, let it melt, then popped into a split roll … Can’t tell you how amazing it was. The juices from the mushroom just ran out of it like it does for no other meat burger ever. So good! I hate to admit … I had two, I loved them so much.

Mushrooms roasting on an open fire ...

Mushrooms roasting on an open fire …

The best part? I cooked it up alongside the hot dogs and burgers without a mention that I intended it to be a meat-free alternative to the hamburgers. The result being that everyone else tried some too, and loved it. They still ate their burgers, but it was nice to see the portabellas getting some love.

So, impromptu cookout excursion: Success! If I’d had a little more time to think this through, I would have also liked to add roasted red peppers (easy to do) and I would have also grilled some sweet vidalia onions alongside the mushrooms to use as toppings. It was really great nonetheless!

If you’d like to try this out, here’s how I do it. No real cooking skill involved, bahahaha:

Meaty Marinated Portabella Mushroom Sandwich

10 large portabella mushroom caps

1, 16 oz bottle of State Fair Spiede Sauce (or other marinade you enjoy)

10 slices Swiss cheese (optional – make it vegan and leave out the cheese!)

10 rolls (I got good kaiser rolls that were baked in-store)

1) Clean mushrooms. Score the tops of each mushroom by slashing an ‘X’ into the center of the cap with a sharp knife. This helps with letting the marinade seep into the mushroom a little more efficiently, and I believe it also helps with letting the mushrooms cook a little more evenly.

2) Place the cleaned mushrooms into a resealable plastic bag or into a glass bowl. Pour in the marinade. Seal the bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit at least an hour. Mine sat for about three, and they were perfect.

The finished plate. Alongside the succulent sandwich is my mother-in-law's famous macaroni salad. So yummy, and so summery!

The finished plate. Alongside the succulent sandwich is my mother-in-law’s famous macaroni salad. So yummy, and so summery!

3) When your cooking fire is ready (we did ours on an open fire, but if you are choosing to grill, you can do this over direct heat set to medium-high), place mushrooms bottom-up on the grill. Save the marinade, then pour about 2 Tbps of it onto each of the mushrooms. Let cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the tops start to take on a dark-brown hue. I prefer letting the mushroom get an almost-blackened hue to it to really get that caramelized flavor into it.

4) Using tongs, turn the mushrooms over and pour the remainder of the marinade over the mushrooms again. Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the mushroom and the desired result. Again, I like mine a little dark around the edges for a nice, smoky caramelized flavor. You want the mushroom fully cooked through so it’s really nice and juicy. About 3 minutes into cooking, top mushrooms with Swiss cheese if desired.

5) Split your roll, and place your mushroom in it. Close the lid, and dig in!

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