Sunday, August 25, 2013

Flame-Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steak + Arugula Salad & Grilled Potatoes

My job as a photographer takes me to some really interesting places. Recently, I was wading hip-deep out onto a rocky shoal to capture fly fishermen outside Heber Springs, Arkansas. That night I stayed at the cabins at Fat Possum Hollow on a beautiful piece of land tucked between Sugarloaf Mountain and some smaller foothills. Dinner in the barn that night was simply salad, potatoes, pork chops for most and there was a flame-grilled portobello mushroom for me. It was perfect.

The whole experience of being out in nature and the unfussy, shared meal with friends both old and new got me thinking about simplicity -- and the lack of it in my life. It was one of those Thoreau-esque moments, y'all. I don't need that kind of uncomplicated existence all of the time, but it sure is nice to visit it every once in a while.

Luckily, this vegetarian version of a classic meat-and-potatoes dish can transport me back to that state of mind anytime I want. I've not spent this little time preparing a meal in a while. You barely need a knife to prepare it, and in fact, there is almost no prep at all.

Flame-Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steak + Arugula Salad & Grilled Potatoes

1 teaspoon porcini salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Olive oil (for drizzling)
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 large portbello mushrooms
15-20 small or fingerling potatoes
2 cups loose-packed arugula
3 tablespoons vinaigrette of your choice*
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 small shallot (sliced)
Parmesan or bleu cheese (to garnish)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

In a small bowl, mix the porcini salt, paprika, garlic, thyme, red pepper, and black pepper. Set the dry rub aside. Drizzle olive oil and sherry vinegar onto both sides of the mushrooms and then coat generously in the dry rub; reserve about 1/3 of the rub. Set mushrooms aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until ready to grill.

Place potatoes onto a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle clean potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining dry rub. Place potatoes into the oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside.

Just before you are ready to eat, preheat the outdoor grill to high. Grill mushrooms for about 5 minutes per side or until well-marked by the grill grates. Toss cooked potatoes onto the grill to warm them through.

In a medium bowl, toss the arugula, vinaigrette, tomatoes, and shallot together until greens are well coated. Plate mushrooms and potatoes. Top each mushroom with dressed salad and garnish with cheese. (Serves 2.)

*Simple Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Place the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper into a jar, close the lid, and shake. Set aside until ready to use.

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