One thing to know about me is that I’m a carnivore through and through. Steak, tri-tip, pork belly, grilled chicken — you name the protein, and I’ll come sniffing around. So whenever I’ve heard of people raving about Portobello mushroom burgers I’ve always kind of laughed to myself, “That’s not a sandwich. Heh.” But my life changed when I got an iron grill pan.
Suddenly, everything was seeming possible. After several days of gorging on all kinds of red meat, I found myself wondering about the vegetarian alternatives. After giving fleeting thoughts (and rolling my eyes) to images of potato patties and soy burgers, I found myself considering Portobello mushroom burgers. After all, these mushrooms are huge, substantial, and have that kind of resistance and thickness you so often drool over in a beef patty. Some fantasizing and Googling, and lo and behold, I found myself craving this sandwich every day of the week. After one or two queries, an heirloom tomato and a handful of garlic later, I was set. It’s juicy, has a great mouthfeel and oddly enough, feels really meaty. And yes, dear reader(s), you can make this too.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
About 1/2 cup garlic oil (1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic, combined)
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
4 1/4-inch-slices of whole heirloom or beefsteak tomato
4 1/4-inch-slices of whole red onion
1 cup arugula
About 1/2 cup garlic aioli (or 1/2 cup mayonnaise + juice of 1/2 lemon + 2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves + pinch of salt and pepper, combined)
4 burger buns or kaiser rolls
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Get your garlic oil and aioli ready! Mix the 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic with 1/2 cup olive oil and set aside. Mix the 1/2 cup mayonnaise with juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons minced or crushed garlic and pinch of salt and pepper, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat (so you can throw your mushrooms, onion and bread on!). But if you don’t have a fancy grill pan, you can use a saute pan with a dash of vegetable oil.
2. Brush each side of the Portobello mushrooms with the garlic oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side. Grill the mushrooms until marked and slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside. (Pro tip: Halfway through the mushrooms’ cook time, start grilling the onion slices.)
3. Add the onion slices to the grill pan, and cook until lightly marked, about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
4. Using whatever leftover garlic oil you might have, very lightly brush some on the insides of the bread. Toast bread on the grill pan until marked, about 1 minute.
5. Assemble your burgers! Spread about 1/2 tablespoon garlic aioli on each individual bread slice. For each burger, add 1 mushroom, 1/4 cup arugula, 1 onion slice and 1 tomato slice. For presentation, do one brush stroke of oil on the top of the assembled burger. Eat. A lot.
Why so much garlic? Dude, don’t question it. It’s delicious. You won’t regret it.
Seriously, what’s with the garlic oil? Mushrooms tend to dry out when cooked, so I wanted to make sure these “patties” stayed moist and flavorful.
Is that really how you make garlic aioli? Pretty much, yeah. “Garlic aioli” is pretty much fancy shmancy terminology for garlic mayonnaise.