The Portobello mushroom (Agaricus bisporis) is native to the grasslands of Europe and North America. It has two color states when immature - white and brown - both of which have various names. When mature it is known as the Portobello mushroom. When immature and white, it may be known as the common mushroom, button mushroom, white mushroom, and table mushroom. When immature and brown it may be known as Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian mushroom, cremini, or crimini mushroom.
Portobello mushrooms are considered the grown up brother of the crimini mushroom. They have a longer growing cycle and produce a mushroom with a substantial texture and a deep meaty flavor.
The earliest description of the commercial cultivation of Agarius bisporus was made by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1707. Today's commercial variety of the common mushroom originally was a light brown color. Agaricus bisporus is now cultivated in at least 70 countries throughout the world.
My introduction to the Portobello mushroom was when I was working in the supermarket. We sold them packaged, but also loose. Many times we would get the Portobellos and some of them would be broken. Sometimes I would package up a few of the damaged ones and buy them at a reduced price. Full price was a little rich for me at that time. My favorite way to fix them was to turn them into a vegetarian burger. There's a recipe below.
Portobellos can be grilled, roasted, or sauteed.
Basic Grilled: Brush mushroom, on both sides with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill 5 -6 minutes on each side.
Oven Roast: Brush Portobellos with oil. Place on a baking sheet cap sides up. Roast in pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Saute': In a skillet cook sliced chopped or whole mushrooms in a little oil or butter over medium high heat stirring or turning until tender, about 5 - 6 minutes.
Long thin slices are a delicious addition to a stir-fry. The mushrooms can also be breaded and deep fried.
In a 100 gram serving raw white mushrooms provide 22 calories and are an excellent source of the B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, and panothenic acid, Fresh mushrooms are also a good source of tahe dietary mineral phosphorus.
Macronutients consist of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.; Portobellos have a balance of proteins and carbs, and they are low in fat. Portobellos have a moderately high amount of fiber which helps control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also has a filling effect. Portobellos have moderate amounts of potassium which is an electrolyte mineral needed for muscle contractions, protein synthesis, nerve function and acid alkaline balance. They contain phosphorus for bone strength. They are low in sodium and the B vitamins help with red blood cell formation, energy production, and nervous system function.
Selecting and Storing:
Select plump, firm, and solid mushrooms. Avoid limp or dry looking ones. They should not be shriveled or slippery. The mushroom should have a nice earthy smell. Once at home remove the mushrooms from any wrapping and spread them on a tray and cover them with paper toweling. Don't moisten the toweling or the mushrooms , but place them in the refrigerator in an area that allows tahe air to circulate. Avoid placing any other items on top of them. The mushrooms should keep about 5 - 6 days.
So..... Eat up! Enjoy! I'll show you how.
Simple but Good:
4 Portobello mushroom caps
8 ounce jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil
8 ounces of baby spinach
1 red onion sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 hamburger buns
Prepare your grill for high direct heat.
Saute' spinach in 1 TBS olive oil on medium heat with a sprinkle of salt.
Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel. Paint the tops of the mushrooms with olive oil. Brush the onion rounds with oil and place on the grill. Place the mushroom caps on grill with top side down. Grill mushroom caps 4 - 5 minutes per side. Grill the burger buns top side down for about 1/2 - 1 minute until lightly toasted.
To assemble spread some mayonnaise on each bun. Put Portobello mushroom cap onm the bottom bun, then layer on the spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and finally some onion. Serve at once.
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