I have been making this recipe for many years. Since July 2000, to be exact, which is when I pulled it from the pages of Bon Appetit magazine and veganized it. It is easy to make and REALLY tasty, and it always pleases vegans and omnivores alike. You can make it in your home, in your oven or on a stove-top grill pan; you can make it on your BBQ; and added bonus: it’s great to make while camping! The one time I went camping (no, I’m not much of a camper), I just made the red pepper mayo ahead of time, and everything else came together easily at the camp site.
To make the heavenly mayo, blend 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar), 1/4 cup vegan mayo, 1 garlic clove and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a processor until smooth.
Next, prepare your BBQ or heat your oven. In this particular case, I simply baked things at 400, but you can experiment to see how you prefer it (you can’t go wrong with an outdoor grill when it comes to portobellos!). This recipe makes four servings, so you will want at least four mushrooms. In this house, we prefer a ratio closer to 1-1/2 mushrooms per person, but just use the amount you prefer. I remove the stems and gills of these mushrooms to make sure there’s no hidden grit. Once you’ve done that, just wipe them down quickly (again, an anti-grit measure), then spray them on both sides with olive oil spray and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cook until they are tender and meaty, turning them over about half way through the cooking process. Depending on your heat source, it can range from about 10 minutes to closer to 20. When done, they will be fork tender and delicious. For serving, I cut them into strips.
The original recipe calls for four thick slices of crusty country bread. It also calls for placing one whole (unsliced) mushroom on top of each slice of bread. I’ve amended that a bit, not only by increasing the mushroom amount per serving and slicing them, but by doubling, yes doubling, the amount of bread involved. We don’t eat this kind of bread at home very often, but when we do, we go crazy. We use ciabatta, which I recommend. However much bread you end up using, slice it thickly and spray both sides with olive oil spray. Toward the end of the mushroom’s cooking time, add the bread slices to the grill or oven. You want them to get a bit toasted and crispy on the outside, but still be tender and luscious on the inside. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
While the mushrooms and bread are cooking, prepare your greens. You need about 4 cups of greens. I usually use baby spinach (what the recipe recommended), but this time I used a mix of baby “super greens,” baby kale, tatsoi, spinach and various other tasty things. Prepare a dressing by transferring 2 tablespoons of your red pepper mayo to a large bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, add the greens and toss to coat. Divide the greens among your dinner plates.
Place bread slice(s) on top of the greens. Put the mushrooms on top of the bread. Spoon red pepper mayo over each and serve. The flavors and consistencies are wonderful, and the mayo sauce will soak into the bread in just the right way. Yum.