Pre-Belize, one of our favorite sandwiches was a Portobello-Prosciutto burger. I mean how can you go wrong with marinating those meaty mushrooms in red wine, grilling them up, then topping them with lovely prosciutto, which is a kissing cousin to bacon? The answer: You can’t; they are delectable.
Having not had one of these burgers for at least the last six months, my craving for one was getting intense. There were just a couple, small obstacles:
No Portobellos – Don’t know about other areas of Belize, but here in Corozal, there are no Portobellos. Matter of fact, there are no cremini, shiitake, oyster, or any other kind of mushroom, except white button ones. And even those can be scarce.
No Prosciutto – If it lives here, it’s a recluse ‘cause I haven’t seen it in any store. Same goes for pancetta.
What’s a girl to do? Improvise! As luck would have it, I scored a package of button mushrooms at the market this week. The butcher also had some bacon. The cooking gods were smiling down at me, so I went to work.
First, I stemmed the mushrooms and sliced them.
The mushroom slices went into a plastic bag, along with about a cup of red wine, a splash of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
They hung out in their wine bath for about 40 minutes. In the meantime, I cooked up some BACON and reveled in the aroma.
Once the bacon was done, I reserved the fat because I was going to be very, very bad later.
Next, I moved on to the potatoes and cut two of them into six wedges each.
A quick digression. The day I made all this, David had been busy removing the left upper kitchen cabinet and tile backsplash. As it was a two-day job and it didn't make a lick of sense to take down the protective plastic sheeting from the work area, this is what conditions looked like while putting this meal together:
Ummm, kinda' quaint, isn't it? Of course, IF WE COULD GET OUR NEW CABINETS AND COUNTERS ALL WOULD BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD! (I know, shouty caps don't solve problems. Ms. Crankypants signing off now. Back to our recipe.)
So about those potato wedges. I drizzled them with the reserved bacon fat. Oh yes I did! Then sprinkled some salt, pepper, and paprika on them and gave them a good mix.
|Because what could be better than potatoes with bacon?|
The wedges were spread in a single layer on a sheet tray and popped into a pre-heated 450-degree oven for about 25 minutes.
About 10 minutes before the potatoes were ready, I went back to the mushrooms. After draining off the wine marinade, I put the mushroom slices into a pre-heated saute pan that I had drizzled with a bit of olive oil.
I let them cook over medium heat until most of the liquid had evaporated and the mushrooms were tender. Then I divided the 'shrooms in two.
I left them to cook just a little bit more until I could see the edges of some of the mushrooms begin to brown. While that was going on, I grated some cheddar cheese.
After separating the cheese into two sorta' equal piles, I placed each pile on top of the still simmering mushrooms. While that was melting, I pulled the potato wedges out from the oven. With everything good to go, it was time to plate.
I forgot to mention that I had toasted two rolls. Oops. Anyway, On the bottom of each roll, I put the mushroom cheese "burger" then topped it with slices of BACON. The crispy potato wedges found a home right next door.
The verdict? Not too shabby. Not quite the same as the original recipe, but close enough that it brought grins to our faces and I'd make them again. And those potato wedges that were drizzled with BACON fat? Crispy on the outside, with just enough fluff factor on the inside to be crazy good.