Portobellos have a unique ability (among mushrooms at least) to become more juicy, more meaty and more intense when cooked, making them a stellar side dish for meat-focused meals, particularly beef steaks and veal; though they sit nicely next to vegetable stews, rice dishes and white fish as well.
You could skip the browning stage if you’re pushed for hob space, though you’ll need to bake the mushrooms for longer and the end flavour won’t be quite as good.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 50 g butter, sliced
- 6 large Portobello mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 stems oregano, cut into 2–3 pieces
- 15 g flaked almonds
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3. Melt half the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over a high heat until foaming and browning. Add the mushrooms, curved-side down, and cook for 2 minutes, until browned. You may need to cook them 2 or 3 at a time and add extra butter if you think it needs it.
- If your pan is not ovenproof or does not fit the mushrooms in one layer, transfer them to a larger ovenproof dish, ensuring the gills face upwards, then scatter the sliced garlic into the cups. Do the same with the oregano. Season generously with salt and pepper and dot the remaining 25 g butter inside the mushrooms.
- Pour boiling water into the pan or dish to a depth of 1 cm. Take a piece of greaseproof paper or baking parchment slightly bigger than the dish, wet it under the cold tap, screw it up then unravel it and place it over the mushrooms, tucking it in at the edge. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the paper. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the almonds and bake for 10–15 minutes more, or until the almonds are turning golden and the mushrooms are yielding and juicy. Turn the mushrooms over a few times in the cooking liquid and serve, ensuring everyone has a fair share of the garlic, oregano and almond flakes, plus a spoonful or two of that delectable liquor.
- If required, you could prepare them in advance and keep them warm for 20–30 minutes in a very low oven, or simply reheat with a quick oven blast when needed.