The largest of the cultivated mushrooms, portabella have open veils and flat caps that can measure up to six inches in diameter.
They are actually mature Criminis and have a meatier flavor, the result of a somewhat longer growing period. The stems are firmer in texture but can be trimmed and cooked along with the caps. Freshly harvested portabella caps are light tan, rounded and slightly rough-textured, with somewhat uneven edges and visible gills on the underside. As they mature, the caps become flatter, their surface darkens and becomes slightly wrinkled. These mushrooms are still good to buy and use - in fact, their flavor will be richer and more intensely mush roomy, portabellas are sold in most supermarket produce departments either loose (usually with stems attached) or packaged - caps only or sliced. Size varies, but that's no indicator of taste or texture.
How to Store
To maintain their high quality, refrigerate portabellas as soon as you get them home. Store in paper bags, never in plastic which retains too much moisture. Or, if the portabellas are covered with plastic, remove it and wrap loosely with paper towels.
How to Clean
When ready to use, quickly rinse or wipe off portabellas with a damp towel. If the stems are attached, trim off the bottoms. I always, always say, never wash mushrooms but if you have to, please use as little water as possible. A clean brush (like a paint brush) or cheesecloth is a good way to clean.
Mushroom will absorb most of the water and when you cook them, they will get very watery.
How to Cook
Few foods are as versatile as portabellas. Serve them as appetizers, entrees or side dishes - cooked on the grill, under the broiler, oven-roasted or in the skillet or microwave.
To Grill or Broil:
Lightly brush caps and stems with oil to keep them moist and season with salt and pepper. Or, use with any of the following sauces:
- Italian Dressing
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Barbecue Sauce
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grill or broil 4 to 6 inches from heat source for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, brushing once or twice.
Brush portabellas with oil or any of the sauces listed above. Place on a baking sheet, gill-side down. Roast in a preheated 425°F oven for about 20 minutes.
In a skillet, cook sliced, shopped or whole portabellas in a little oil or butter over medium-high heat, stirring or turning until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Other ingredients, such as onions, peppers and garlic, can be cooked along with the mushrooms. Season with your favorite herbs or spices.
Brush portabellas with oil or any of the sauces listed above. Place in a microwave-safe shallow pan or dish, gill-side down. Cover with waxed paper. It will take about 5 to 6 minutes on HIGH to cook 8 ounces of portabellas.
- Portabella stems, which are somewhat firmer in texture than the caps, can be sliced lengthwise and grilled or roasted. Or, slice or chop stems for sautés, soups, stir-fries, stews, omelets, and other recipes.
- Instead of brushing caps with oil or a sauce before cooking, spray both sides with non-stick cooking spray.
- When sautéing, leave space around the mushrooms so that they brown evenly.
- Portabellas become "meatier" (firmer textured) the longer they are cooked.
- Cooked portabella mushrooms can be frozen and will keep for several months. Place in freezer containers or bags, excluding as much air as possible. (Uncooked mushrooms don't freeze well).
Good Nutrition News!
Portabellas, like other mushrooms are virtually free of fat and sodium, provide essential fiber and contain no cholesterol. One medium cap (about 4 ounces) has only 40 calories. Imagine getting all that fabulous flavor and texture from something that's so good for you!
If your recipe calls for 1 pound of portabella mushrooms, use:
- 3 to 4 medium-size portabellas (about 4 inches in diameter) with stems
- 4 to 5 medium-size portabella caps
- 2 large portabellas (about 6 inches in diameter) with stems
- 3 large portabella caps
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
Portabella Mushroom Salad
Other recipes from Produce Pete.