My first real job out of college was working in the promotions department for the local FOX station. At the time I lived downtown and “commuted” to the South Hill for work. My commute was against the “rush” of traffic, as most people commuted into “the city.”
My “commute” was a whopping 15 minutes, which meant I could listen to approximately four songs on The Magic Numbers self titled album I kept on constant repeat.
Working on the South Hill didn’t provide the hustle and bustle of a downtown working environment, (insert sarcasm here), but it did provide quite a few fun eateries. My co-workers and I would enjoy payday lunches out twice a month, dining on panini’s at Ferrante’s, and portabella sandwiches at Luna.
Oh the portabella sandwiches at Luna. I would dream about payday just so I could sink my teeth into those glorious sandwiches. I could never afford Luna’s dinner fare on my starting salary, but I could relinquish the required funds for a midday splurge. Their portabella sandwich was the bar at which I measured all other portabella sandwiches. It was King, and I was happy to be it’s Queen.
Until the day Luna removed it from the menu. Panic set in, where would I ever get a portabella sandwhich again!? I’d tried others in town, but none could compare to the grilled ‘shroom on a kaiser roll with grilled zucchini, grilled yellow squash, roasted red peppers and garlic basil aioli.
I asked if they would create their sandwich one last time for me, and they tried, they honestly did. But the result was not the same. My portabella sandwich came out with lettuce, tomato and onion, but none of the grilled and roasted goodness which earned the King status I had previously appointed.
So here I was, a sad, broke twenty-something on the hunt for the greatest portabella sandwich in the world. And until tonight, the hunt had only resulted in sub-par representations of what this dish could really be.
But tonight, I rocked the portabella. And it rocked my world.
Bomb(dot)com Portabella Sandwich
2 large portabella caps, stems removed, washed and patted dry
olive oil spray as needed
salt as needed
half a red bell pepper, cored & seeded
5 leaves basil, chiffonade cut
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TBS low-fat mayo
splash of lemon juice
2 ounces goat cheese
2 buns of your choice (I prefer kaiser rolls, but I didn’t have any today)
jelly roll pan + cookie cooling rack
Turn oven to high broil. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil. Place half of red bell pepper skin side up, broil until blackened.
note: this is NOT black enough – you want the entire thing to be black, black, black!
After blacked, place bell pepper in ziplock bag and close. Let sit 20-30 minutes.
Change oven to low broil.
While bell pepper is cooling prep the following:
- slice onion and tomato
- make the basil aioli: chiffonade the basil, mince garlic, add both to 2 TBS mayo and a splash of lemon juice.
- Place portabella caps on top of the cookie cooling rack, on top of the jelly roll pan. Spray with olive oil, lightly coating, and sprinkle a little salt.
When bell pepper is cooled remove skin completely, and slice.
Place portabella caps in the oven (on low broil) for 3-4 minutes. Flip, add buns with insides up and broil 1 minute. Remove buns, continue to broil portabellas 2-3 minutes. Flip again and top with half of the goat cheese. Place under broiler for an additional 1-2 minutes.
While portabellas are broiling, prep your buns with the basil aioli, onion, tomato, roasted bell pepper and remaining goat cheese.
When portabellas are finished add to your buns.
I’ll have seconds please.