Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Portabella Sandwich (Bocata de Hongo Potabello)

Portabella mushrooms are like all mushrooms - a type of fungi. The "aficionados," the people who spend their time studying mushrooms, are called mycologists. In the Basque country there are many of them. As a young kid I loved to go mushroom hunting but I only knew a couple of species. One day I wanted to impress my uncle so I picked every single mushroom that I saw. I put them carefully in a basket and showed them to him. He looked at me in awe. I smiled with pride looking at the basket and he started separating mushrooms by groups. When he was done he said: "Dead." What? "All these are poisonous and if you eat them they might kill you, and all of these that are not, you could have eaten them but by now they are contaminated by the bad ones, so go and throw them away." Since them I only picked the couple of types I knew and now I only buy mushrooms from the store.

The portabella in this sandwich is a good substitute for a good piece of meat and it is very safe.


1 large portabella mushroom per sandwich
2 roasted red peppers
1 onion caramelized
cream cheese spread with garlic and cilantro or parley or white bean spread. (In this sandwich I used cream cheese.)
Ciabatta, baguette, or rustic bread - any of them will work (I used ciabatta because that is what I had)

Roast the peppers in the oven or on a grill until they get brown, put them in a plastic bag and let them cool, peel in the same bag and reserve the juices to add to the spread. Grill the portabella, removing the black of the inside. Then caramelize the onions. Make the spread in a blender, adding the juice of the roasted peppers. Cut the ciabata bread in half and grill the inside. When you have all the ingredients ready, start to assemble. Spread both insides of the bread. Add the peppers, the arugula, the onions and then the portabella, top with the other side of the ciabatta bread and put it on a grill. Use something heavy to weigh the bread down (I use a brick wrapped in foil), turn the sandwich and weigh it down again. Serve on a platter with homemade chips.

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