This dish is just exciting to me. I mean it combines a lot of my favorite things; it combines my life and food philosophies. It is simple, diverse, local and colorful. It is beautiful and each bite is a new and different combination. You have the umami richness from the mushroom giving the dish this grounded fullness and then you’ll get a crunch of the cucumber and lightness from cilantro and then a crisp piece of kale or the chewiness of eggplant. And then there is the roasted tomatoes and arugula offering sweetness and bitterness. And there is cheese, of course there is cheese, adding that richness, that depth of flavor and decadence. Oh, and corn, there is corn, and peppers and all kinds of different ingredients I picked up on the farmer’s market on Saturday. If you don’t have all of these ingredients, just modify, if you do, or have even more, incorporate them.
Portabella filled with Farmer’s Market Vegetables and a Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
1 portabella mushroom
1 small red onion, diced
2 small peppers, sliced
1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced
1 ear of corn taken off the cob
A few stems, or about a cup of kale, stems removed
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 handful cilantro
1 handful arugula
sea salt & pepper
Good, spicy salsa
cheese: I used jack and goat cheese
Cucumber-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
¼ cup cucumber, sliced into small pieces
1 big handful of cilantro, stems removed
¼ cup whole milk yogurt, I used Straus.
Sea salt & pepper
First just prep all of the ingredients and turn the oven to 425.
Then heat up a cast iron on medium-high heat, sauté the onions and eggplant for a minute or two in olive oil, then add the peppers, corn, kale and quinoa. Add a drizzle of oil, salt & pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, cover and cook for several minutes.
Meanwhile wash the portabella, remove the middle stem, and drizzle the mushroom with olive oil, salt & pepper, and some lemon juice. Place the mushroom in a mini cast iron, or other small baking pan, and put it in the oven.
When the veggies are slightly browned, turn the heat off. Take the mushroom out of the oven and fill it with the veggies, not all of mine fit so I saved them as leftovers. Next, add a few dollops of salsa on top of the veggies, then add the diced cheese on top of the salsa. Finally, season with salt & pepper, add some tomatoes to the cast iron, and bake for about seven or so minutes.
While the mushroom bakes, make the cucumber-cilantro sauce. Just mix together the cucumber, cilantro, yogurt, salt & pepper and lemon juice.
During the last few minutes of baking, set the oven to broil. Add a handful of cilantro to the pan, and cook for just a minute or so, until the cheese is browned and the arugula is a little crispy and wilted.
I ate mine right out of the cast iron, topped with the yogurt sauce and plenty of extra cilantro for seasoning. I also added a few slices of avocado and a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.