One thing I enjoy eating perhaps more than anything else is a good ol’ American burger. In my opinion, they are diffecult to beat! Also, one thing’s for sure, I am a total carnivore! I love just about anything made with beef. However, it’s not necessarily best for the waist line, and I intended to eat light for dinner.
I wasn’t in the mood for a turkey burger so I decided to try something I never have before: a vegetarian burger. The meat-less burger I planned to construct: Blue cheese portobello burger with a worsheshire mayo on a multi-grain ciabatta bun.
This is for one burger, adjust according to the amount of burgers you make
For marinade: (mix to taste)
1 portobello mushroom
For worsheshire mayo: (eyeball it)
Mayonnaise (light or regular)
Salt to taste
Black pepper (generous amount)
Slice of red onion
Salt and pepper
1-2 slices of red tomato
Green leaf lettuce
Butter or margarine for spreading
For blue cheese sauce:
1 part butter, about 1 tablespoon
2 parts blue cheese crumbles, about 2 tablespoons
First, I dressed the portobello with a mixture of olive oil, worsheshire sauce, and seasoning salt that I whisked together and brushed on both sides of the mushroom. I let this sit for a quick marinade while I prepared my other toppings. For even more flavor, I prepared a worsheshire pepper mayo, simple, mix mayo; worsheshire sauce to taste, being careful not to add too much (should achieve a light brown color); a generous amount of black pepper; and a little salt. Then set aside until ready to use
Next, I tore a piece of green leaf lettuce, cut slices of red tomato (that i seasoned lightly). Then i sliced a red onion down the center, brushed it with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then grilled it over medium heat until soft and browned, (leaving the slice intact) about 2-3 min each side.
One of my cardinal rules to building an all-star burger is grilling the buns, this gives much more richness and flavor. To do so, spread a light layer of softened butter on the insides of each bun and grill on low heat until golden brown. You can use a butter substitute to cut fat and calories if you wish. I used margarine because I planned on using the good stuff, real butter, in my blue cheese sauce; yes I just can’t resist some indulgence. Grilling buns should be done fairly slow to achieve evenness and avoid burning the edges.
A flavorful mushroom is key here in order for it to stand up to the other ingredients without getting drowned out. Add a little oil to the grill pan, lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on the mushroom, and grill on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side. When done, the portobello should soften and flatten slightly, ending with a nice deep color.
Portobellos and blue cheese pair nicely, but blue cheese has a very strong flavor. Therefore I like to make a blue cheese sauce to mellow the taste.
To do so, as the mushroom is grilling, melt one part butter to two parts blue cheese crumbles in a small sauce pan on low heat being careful not to burn. I allow the butter to melt first, then whisk in the cheese until melted.
Now, it’s time to build that burger! Here are the steps: spread the prepared mayo on each of the buns, layer lettuce, then the portobello, next blue cheese sauce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and top with bun. And there you have it, a vegetatian style burger that is rich and satisfying much like it’s beefy counterpart. Honestly, I could not put this burger down! So many flavors come together in harmony and no one ingredient overpowers another, and that is key. The portobello tastes rich and meaty, the blue cheese has a salty tang, the mayo is peppery with a kick from the worsheshire; all enhanced by fresh produce, grilled onions, and the soft ciabatta bun.
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