Friday, January 09, 2009

Grilled Portobello Sandwiches with Sweet Peppers and Onion Relish (Page 181)


  • Date: Monday, December 29, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Brad, Deniz, Wes, Karen H, and Dave
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman and I made this for dinner at his parents' house since they have a grill and we don't! I started by making the onion relish. I cooked thinly sliced onion in balsamic vinegar and a bit of sugar for 30 minutes. Then I marinated quartered bell peppers and portobello mushroom caps separately in a mixture of garlic, oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. After an hour of marinating, my special gentleman grilled the mushrooms and peppers until they were charred and tender. He then grilled rolls split in half. Meanwhile I sliced the mushrooms and tossed them with basil and parsley. The picture above is of the unassembled sandwiches. Everyone constructed their own sandwiches with the rolls, peppers, mushrooms, onion relish, arugula leaves, salt, and pepper. This dish was excellent. It was flavorful, well balanced, fun to eat... just a great sandwich. I am always a fan of using balsamic vinegar with grilled food -- the smokiness from the grill goes so well with the balsamic flavor. Here it was extremely well executed. Every component on its own tasted good, but they came together to be much more than just the sum of the parts. Both texturally and flavorwise there was a lot going on, and it absolutely worked. My special gentleman's younger brother Wes just kept saying, "This is amazing" over and over as he was eating. That pretty much summarizes it. I don't think you are going to find a better grilled mushroom sandwich than this one.

This recipe isn't online.

It's my friend Melanie's birthday today (Happy Birthday Mel!) so I figure it's appropriate to tell a Melanie story. Mel and I met in the 6th grade. We were in the same class for a week, and then for some reason that I can't remember the class got disassembled and distributed amongst the other 6th grade classes. But after a week our friendship had already cemented and we have been friends ever since. We often tagged along on the other person's family vacations, and this story comes from one such adventure. We were in middle school, I think, and headed with my family up to the Apostle Islands (in Lake Superior). It's a long drive up there from Southern Wisconsin, so we spent a night at a motel along the way, called the Pea Patch Motel and Saloon (yes, such a place does exist!). After a long day in the car, we happily crashed into bed, and slept soundly. The next morning, after I had showered, I was rifling through my duffel bag in my towel, looking for underwear, when I noticed something seemed odd. As I pulled my underwear out of the duffel bag, it became clear that there had been some sort of fire in my luggage. My underwear had burned, and the elastic bands on my underwear had melted together, forming one big clump of ash, fabric, and melted elastic. As I held up this big molten wad of underwear, Melanie laughed and laughed. Further inspection revealed a hole burned through my duffel bag, and various articles of clothing with holes burned through them. But the floor of the Pea Patch Motel, where my bag had been sitting, looked fine. No evidence of fire! I quickly got dressed and Melanie and I were on a mission to solve this mystery. Our first stop: the car! There was some evidence of fire in the trunk, where my bag had been, but no immediate explanation for how it had started. But we carefully scoped out the situation, gathering clues until we deduced that the mini-fire had been started by the light bulb for one of the tail lights, which had somehow come dislodged from where it should have been and was instead dangling in the trunk, ready to melt things and start fires. We were so proud of ourselves for having solved the mystery! We were also lucky that with a truck full of luggage my underwear were the only casualties!


M and M said...

Great story, Teena! And, I love Grilled Portobello mushrooms so your recipe totally stoked my appetite! It's lunch time, I'll have to make due with what's in the kitchen. Have you ever had the portobello mushroom sandwich at the Harmony Bar on the east side? YUM! (along with home made potato chips and blue cheese dip - we'll have to go there sometime).

Teena said...

I've never even been to the Harmony Bar on the east side -- we'll have to go there next time I am in town!