Last week, I was driving with my 10 year old niece and she asked me what my favourite food was. After I stopped laughing at the idea of having to choose just one (I sometimes get panicky at the thought of how much great food there is to eat and only so many hours in a day and months in a year and kilometres on the elliptical trainer – seriously) she countered with favourite type of food. Unable to choose one ethnicity (I’ve always disagreed with the use of that term in relation to food anyway – isn’t all food ethnic? Shouldn’t it more appropriately be “exotic” or “the food that they eat a lot of in Greece” or whatever?) I had to answer: anything with melted cheese on it.
I think I’m still OK with my answer.
Pizza is just always a good thing. I bought a couple portobello mushrooms a few days ago with the intention of making portobello burgers (and because ever since we had those portobello bison burgers, Mike has been asking for seconds) and then remembered today that they make a pretty good support system for personal-size pizzas, too.
As with any pizza, you can put whatever you like on these. You scrape out the gills and bake or grill them first, just to tenderize them and get rid of some of the excess liquid; I have heard of a method where you weigh the mushrooms down as you bake them in order to press out as much liquid as possible – the result is a sort of leathery-textured compact mushroom. You could do this in the oven on a baking sheet with another sheet and perhaps a pan set on top, or you could even cook them in a panini grill, if you happen to have one kicking around.
I didn’t have much in the way of potential pizza toppings around – except mushrooms – but do always keep a jar of Classico extra garlic bruschetta on the shelf. No one pays me to say this. I was actually at a housewarming and asked where they got the bruschetta, and my friend sheepishly admitted it was a $3 jar of Classico. The stuff is good, and has only the usual bruschetta ingredients – nothing unpronouncable. It’s great for an emergency appetizer with baguette, or on top of pasta with crumbled feta cheese, and maybe some shrimp from the freezer.
Tonight I spooned some over the mushrooms, draining most of the liquid off the spoon, and topped them with mozzarella. So easy. And perfect to do in your toaster oven or grill so as to not heat up the house.
Portobello Pizzas with Tomato Bruschetta
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 clove garlic, crushed
olive or canola oil
1/3 cup (ish) chunky tomato bruschetta
grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F or your grill to medium.
Remove the mushroom stems and scrape the gills out with a spoon – only because they tend to be bitter. Stir the garlic into the oil and brush it all over the mushroom caps – both sides.
Place the mushroom caps bowl-side up on a baking sheet and bake (or grill) for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Take them out of the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450°F, or turn up your grill a bit.
Top your mushrooms with the bruschetta and cheese. Bake (or grill, with the lid closed) for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Serves 2 (recipe doubles or triples easily)
And see? The pizzas are even sturdy enough to eat out of hand, just like the real thing.