17 Aug Summer Vegetable: PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM
BONMi’s summer vegetable is Portobello Mushroom. Portobellos are a popular item found in both gourmet & small town markets. But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time farmers couldn’t even give them away.
What is a Portobello Mushroom?
Portobellos are an extremely large (up to 6” in diameter), dark brown mushroom that is simply the fully mature form of the Crimini mushroom, which in turn is a variation of the common cultivated white mushroom. Like white bread, white mushrooms were the preferred mushroom in the United States for decades. The darker brown variations were plentiful – they just didn’t sell. This all changed with a shift in market interest. Consumers began to request natural food options and the Portobello had it’s window of opportunity.
Why is a Portobello Mushroom called a Portobello? No one really knows!
Its direct translation is “Beautiful Door.” Some think it is named for a road in London, England that sells fancy things. Other think it was named after a city in Panama. How it got its name is a modern kitchen myth and a brilliant marketing ploy because it worked. Consumers began to ask for it by name.
The name Portobello began being widely used in the 1980s when natural foods started to gain in popularity. This previously “unglamorous” dark mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn’t sell them suddenly became in vogue. Chefs and homecooks alike found the Portobello to a fabulously flavorful, healthy , and all-natural main dish.
Why so Flavorful?
Because it’s the elder of the species, the portobello’s gills are fully exposed, which means that some of the mushroom’s moisture has evaporated. The reduced moisture concentrates and enriches the flavor and creates a dense, meaty texture. Few foods have such distinct flavors and have the structure to soak up other flavors like the Portobello.
Portobello Mushroom Health Benefits.
Mushrooms are fungi, which are so distinct in nature they are classified as their own kingdom – separate from plants or animals. While commonly placed in the vegetable category for dietary recommendations, mushrooms are, however, not a vegetable
Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which help to provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. B vitamins also play an important role in the nervous system.
Mushrooms are the leading source of the essential antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle. Antioxidants, like selenium, protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases. They help to strengthen the immune system, as well. In addition, mushrooms provide ergothioneine, a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help protect the body’s cells.
The BONMi Portobellos.
BONMi master chef Buddy Gillespie prepares our Portobello mushrooms as simply as possible to retain all of the natural flavors and nutrients packed in each serving: Roasted on site, large dice and tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper then chilled. They are a healthy and flavorful filling to all of our BONMi meals. We suggest adding to your Bahn Mi sandwich or chilled noodles.