Sweet, smokey, tangy, spicey- this recipe came about from the agonizing despair of my first meatless summer smelling barbequed chicken and pulled pork as I sadly sat by and ate my salads. No more! This messy sandwich is dripping with BBQ sauce and packs just enough kick to make your lips burn. I’ve won several meat-eating friends over with this sammy. The secret? Portobello mushrooms, which are high in the fifth taste, the savory “umami”-
“While few of us can define it, we’ve all had the “umami” experience. Umami is a taste sensation found in some foods. The Japanese, who define umami as “deliciousness,” have long recognized it as a taste distinct from sweet, salty, bitter and sour–the fifth taste. It has been further described as imparting a “robust,” “savory” and at times “meaty” flavor to dishes. What is it exactly that makes umami happen? Umami is both a basic taste and a flavor enhancer produced by the presence of a specific chemical compound–free glutamate.
“Glutamate is abundant in all mushrooms placing them high on the umami scale. The resulting “meaty” flavor offered by mushrooms, along with their distinctive texture, explains why they so successfully stand in for meat in vegetarian dishes. And with only 18-50 calories and up to 350 mg potassium for 3 oz they are a wise choice!” (Information from the Mushroom Council)(source http://www.epicurean-group.com/food_7.html)
- 1 C (rounded) sliced mushrooms (portobello or crimini)
- 2-3 Tbsp. chopped onion
- 2-3 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 5-10 drops liquid smoke (mesquite)
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 Ciabatta roll, oven toasted
Makes 1 sandwich.
Cut ciabatta roll open and toast in oven until crust is a crackly, golden-brown.
Thinly slice mushrooms in pieces about 1/2″ across. If using crimini mushrooms, quarter, then slice. Melt butter in a skillet and add mushrooms and onion. The mushrooms will soak up most of the butter but will quickly give up their liquid, so stir, stir, stir, to make sure they don’t stick. Keep cooking until all the liquid simmers out and the mushrooms begin to darken. Add the liquid smoke and stir for a few moments. Next add in the BBQ sauce and cayenne pepper, stirring over medium heat until the sauce thickens and begins to caramelize. Remove from heat and transfer mixture onto the roll. Enjoy!