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Portobello Mushrooms Pretending
to Be a Filet Mignon



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  Commercial Mushroom Variety Portobello (Agaricus Bisporus), Edible Large Cremini Mushrooms
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Portobello Mushrooms Pretending
to Be a Filet Mignon

Inn at Little Washington Cookbook:
A Consuming Passion

By Patrick O’Connell, 1996, Random House

“This vegetarian main course will satisfy an avid carnivore. Grilled portobello mushroom caps are layered with Roasted Tomato and Shallot Fondue, placed
on a nest of charred onions and vegetable ribbons, mounded with Wild Rice
Pecan Pilaf, and sauced with Tomato Coulis. Serve with steak knives!”

Serves 4

8 portobello mushroom caps, each about
4 1/2 inches in diameter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Charred Onions and Vegetable Ribbons
1 large white onion, sliced 1.4 inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch
thick lengthwise into ribbons
2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch
thick lengthwise into ribbons
2 tablespoons Brown Butter *
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tomato Coulis (recipe follows)
Roasted Tomato and Shallot Fondue
(recipe follows)
Wild Rice Pecan Pilaf (recipe follows)

* In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 pound [or less] lightly salted
butter, stirring constantly. Increase the heat and continue stirring as the
butter foams and begins to turn golden brown. Immediately remove the
butter from the heat and carefully pour it into a heat-proof container.

To char the onions and cook the vegetable ribbons:
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot.
2. Moisten the onion slices with the oil and lay them in the hot skillet one layer deep. Cook until lightly charred, turn over with tongs and char the
other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat until all the
onions are cooked.
3. Meanwhile, bring about 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a rapid boil
and drop in the carrot ribbons. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the
carrots are tender but still al dente. Life the carrots out of the water
with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Using the same pot of boil-
ing water, repeat this process with the zucchini ribbons. (Note: The
zucchini will cook much faster than the carrots.)
4. Add the cooked zucchini to the carrots. Add the Brown Butter and
season with salt and pepper.

To grill the mushrooms:
1. Preheat the grill or broiler.
2. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out or trim each mushroom
cap into a perfect circle. (Save the trimmings for another use.)
3. Place the trimmed mushroom caps in a shallow baking pan. Pour the
1/4 cup olive oil over them and sprinkle with the garlic. Lightly season
with salt and pepper and toss the mushrooms in the oil to coat evenly.
4. Grill or broil the mushrooms for about 3 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill or broiler and keep warm.

To serve:
1. Heat the Tomato Coulis and Roasted Tomato and Shallot Fondue.
2. Lay three or four charred onion rings in the center of each of four
warm serving plates. Arrange two slices of cooked carrot and two
slices of cooked zucchini over the onion rings in a nestlike pattern.
Place a mound of Wild Rice Pecan Pilaf in the center of the
3. Turn four of the grilled mushroom caps upside down and spread
about 2 tablespoons of Roasted Tomato and Shallot Fondue on
the bottom of each cap. Place another cap right side up on top,
forming a “sandwich”. Set the filled mushroom caps on top of
the wild rice.
4. Spoon the Tomato Coulis around the plate and serve.

Tomato Coulis

Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups

1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 leek, coarsely chopped
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
6 fresh basil leaves

Place all ingredients in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a
boil. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Purée and strain.

Roasted Tomato and Shallot Fondue

“Fondue simply means ‘melted’, and this savory condiment is an apt
illustration of the term, since the roasted tomatoes and shallots seem
literally to have melted together. The fondue can be made up to a
week in advance and kept in the refrigerator as a flavor enhancer
for fish or steaks...
When storing in the refrigerator, pour a thin film of olive oil on top
to prevent mixture from drying out. Reheat before serving.”

Serves 8

12 whole fresh shallots, unpeeled
Olive oil
24 Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes,
peeled (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Lay the shallots in a small, shallow, ovenproof baking dish and pour
the oil over them to a depth of 1/2 inch. Cover the dish with aluminum
foil or a lid and bake for 1 hour, or until the shallots are soft.
3. When the shallots are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and
squeeze out the flesh. Coarsely chop the shallot flesh and the roasted tomatoes. Combine in a medium-size bowl. Add the vinegar and salt
and pepper. Mix well and place in a Pyrex baking dish about 2 inches
deep. Press the bay leaves and thyme sprigs into the mixture. (If
using dried thyme, stir it in.)
4. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Stir occasionally to prevent a crust from forming.
5. Remove fondue from the oven. Discard the bay leaves and
thyme sprigs.

Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes

“Here is a solution for the scarcity of delicious-tasting fresh tomatoes during
the winter. Little plum tomatoes (usually available year-round) are coated
with olive oil and salt and roasted in a low oven. They can be stored for a
week or so in olive oil in the refrigerator. Simply slip off the skin before using.
Oven-roasted tomatoes make an economical alternative to expensive sun-dried tomatoes and are far more versatile. They’re surprisingly good on salads and in
stir-fried dishes, and sensational on sandwiches, especially grilled cheese.”

Makes 6 tomatoes

6 fresh Italian plum or Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
2. Using a sharp-tipped paring knife, core the tomatoes. Place in a small
bowl and toss with the oil and salt. If desired, stuff a basil leaf into
the center of each tomato.
3. Lay the tomatoes on a rack in a small roasting pan and bake for about
4 hours, or until the skins crack and blister. The tomatoes should
have a slightly charred appearance.

To serve: Cool the tomatoes, then remove the basil leaves. Peel, quarter,
or halve the tomatoes and use as you would fresh ones.
To store: Pack the tomatoes closely in a jar or plastic container and cover
with extra-virgin olive oil. Herbs and garlic may be added to the oil to
enhance the flavor.

Wild Rice Pecan Pilaf

“With the few little extra ingredients in this recipe, basic wild rice becomes
exciting, colorful, and crunchy. The wild rice may be cooked and stored
in the refrigerator up to two days before serving. It can be sautéed with
the vegetables and nuts up to an hour before serving and kept warm.”

Serves 4

1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup wild rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium-size carrot, peeled and minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 cup white mushrooms, minced
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a medium-size saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a rapid boil.
Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and wild rice. Boil, uncovered, for 40 to
45 minutes, or until the grains just begin to pop open and the rice
is just tender. Drain and set aside.
2. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrot
and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the celery, mushrooms, and pecans.
Sauté for about 2 minutes more, stirring often. Add the rice and
sauté until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.

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