Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grilled portobella mushroom caps

Earlier this month I reported on Tyrone's working job interview. He is currently looking for work as a chef in the California Bay Area.

After spending the last year and a half directing kitchen operations on the African Mercy, Tyrone moved to the San Francisco Peninsula, where his wife was recently employed as a nurse.

Tyrone was chef for the 499-foot hospital ship, where he fed a crew from 30 nations. His wife, Stephanie, worked on the ship as an operating room nurse.

His first interview consisted of an all-day demonstration of his culinary skills. The venue -- kitchen and dining room of a Stanford University residence hall -- gave Tyrone a chance to demonstrate his culinary skill to house managers and residents.

Tyrone walked into the "kitchen like I had always been there, checked in vendors and the laundry man, started prepping and cooking after getting oriented with the kitchen." His main test came as he cooked lunch and dinner for the house residents.

Large grilled portobella mushroom caps complimented roasted chuck bottom round on the dinner menu. The less carnivorous residents enjoyed a meaty vegetarian alternative to the red meat entree.

I asked Tyrone how he prepared the portobella caps. I figured his explanation would help me add one more vegetarian dish to my repertory for camp this summer.

"I was prepared to make my own marinade when I spotted some ginger-balsamic vinaigrette in the pantry," explained Tyrone.

After breaking the steams off and cleaning the steak-sized mushroom caps, he submerged them in clean water. "I don't buy that mushrooms soaking up all that water theory," said Tyrone.

A bath in the marinade for two hours imparted flavor from the ginger-balsamic vinaigrette. He stacked the caps upside-down in a large see-through container. The caps "held (the marinade) like saucers," said Tyrone.

Tyrone then baked the portobellas in the oven before giving them a quick sear on the flat-top griddle. The sugars in the marinade carmalized as mushrooms sizzled on the griddle.

A final drizzle with reserved mushroom juices added a last-minute burst of flavor for the portobellas as they waited for hungry diners in the chafing dish.


  1. Steve, I know this doesn't do with this post, but I have a question:
    Do you have any suggestions for cleaning my Teflon saute pan? I've had it for over 14 years and it has slowly built up carbon around the sides of the pan. Flipping eggs are getting harder each time. I tried 3M pads and some mild degreasers. I'm afraid to try anything stronger, in fear of removing the Teflon coating. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    In his service,

  2. It sounds like it's time to go shopping at your local restaurant supply and buy a new pan. I'd retire the pan. After 14 years, the skillet's given you lot of stellar service.