Vail Today: Add Portobello sandwich to your mountaintop eats (video) | VailDaily.com

Vail Today: Add Portobello sandwich to your mountaintop eats (video)

Tracy Miller
Guest columnist

Remember when the "big foodie thing" was a Portobello mushroom? Everywhere you went this enormous mushroom was displayed grilled or stuffed, as an appetizer and proclaimed as the best thing to happen to the vegetarian world.

Let's bring it back!

Mushrooms are healthy, low in calories and bursting with a unique texture that can truly be the "meat" of you meal. Portobello mushrooms are mature button mushrooms. Interestingly, they start off as the common or button mushroom, mature slightly into the brown cremini and then move up to the Portobello. All stages have medicinal qualities.

Portobellos have a balance of protein and carbohydrates, and they are low in fat. According to http://www.livestrong.com, these mushrooms have about 30 calories per cup, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs. There is no fat and a good amount of fiber, potassium, copper and selenium. The combination of carbs and protein made me think, "a perfect sandwich for the slopes," where a combo of the two and a low calorie lunch will keep you riding until the lifts close.

This sandwich includes a tomato mash you can make the night before or purchase already prepared. There are quite a few ingredients and steps in executing this scrumptious, bready treat, but a mountaintop picnic with a gourmet lunch will make it all worthwhile.

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Pecans add a fun crunch and pair deliciously with mushrooms (inspired by a cream of mushrooms soup I top with toasted pecans); the goat cheese and artichokes grant us the tart. Assemble this sandwich in the morning, wrap it in foil and warm it up on one of the many gas grills on Vail Mountain for the ultimate sandwich experience.

Portobello on grilled sourdough

10 Portobello mushrooms

10 Roma tomatoes

1 yellow onion, sliced into thin rounds

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

6 ounces goat cheese

6 ounces artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

8 slices sourdough bread

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Salt and pepper

Cut Roma tomatoes in half, and toss with 1 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons thyme leaves (remove leaves from stem), 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on baking sheet, and bake at 225 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. Remove from oven, and reserve until ready to make the jam.

In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brush each side of the sourdough bread lightly with the melted butter-oil mixture, and on a griddle, toast the bread on each side until golden brown and crispy. Reserve bread, uncovered until ready to assemble sandwiches.

In the skillet with remaining butter-oil, add sliced onions and cook over medium until soft, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

To prep the mushrooms, cut off the stem and, using a spoon (grapefruit spoon works really well), carve out the gills of the Portobellos and discard. Slice the Portobellos horizontally, creating thin slices. Soak the slices in the red wine vinegar as you prepare the remaining mushrooms. Heat another skillet, pour remaining olive oil, and warm. Once warm, add Portobello mushrooms in a single layer, sprinkle with a little salt, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Repeat until all mushrooms are cooked and tender. Add onions and tomatoes, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to food processor, and combine until creamy.

Spread tomato jam on 4 slices of grilled bread.

Clean out food processor and mix artichokes and goat cheese until well combined and artichokes are small in size. Spread artichoke mixture on remaining 4 slices of bread. Evenly place mushrooms on tomato jam side. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons pecans on goat cheese side and place on top of mushrooms to make the sandwich.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Tracy Miller adds fruits and vegetables to all meals. You can contact her at tracy@colorfulcooking.com or log onto colorfulcooking.com for healthy recipes.