Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Roasted Pepper Spread, Marinated Onions, & Oroweat Sandwich Thins

During Seattle's fleeting summer, my friends and I get to together to BBQ as often as we can.  It's a difficult endeavor due to busy schedules and the many of us apartment dwellers, but a couple of my oldest friends here in the city have a beautiful yard and tree-shaded patio where they host outdoor gatherings at least twice every summer.  This year they were kind enough to offer up their hospitality on one of the mid-ninety degree days that we had this year.

The BBQ's at Tammy and Eric's are always vegetarian/vegan affairs since the two of them practice those lifestyles (she the former, he the latter), so there are guaranteed to be a ton of veggies thrown onto the grill.  I'm always wanting to push the bar a little bit, though, and show up with creative summer fare for everyone to enjoy.  I like to go beyond the Boca burger and the veggie skewer.

A few days prior to this weekend get-together, I received some Oroweat Sandwich Thins, courtesy of Oroweat and Foodbuzz, to try out with summer grilling recipes.  These thin bun-substitutes are perfect for encasing thick burgers and sandwiches that would be overwhelming with traditional buns.

My friends loved them.

But before they got to the 'loving them' part, I got to thinking about delicious BBQ'd things and what I wanted to put in between these new-found breads I'd gotten.  Hmmm...  Grilled Mediterranean-style veggies with feta?  Eggplant Parmesan burgers?  Yummy sounding, to be sure, but my vegan friend couldn't eat those.

After much deliberation, I finally decided that I would grill up some portabello mushroom burgers.  And, since peppers are finally in season, and I can't seem to get enough of them in their most perfect state (that is, of course roasted) I came to the conclusion that these portobellos simply must be topped with a roasted pepper spread. Oh, and marinated grilled onions didn't seem like a bad idea either.  Fresh lettuce from my balcony garden and tomatoes from the farmer's market? Check, and Check.

It goes without saying that the bread is best when it's toasted.  My friend Eric continued to toss these Thins onto the grill even after the burgers were gone.  "They make great toast!" was his solid reasoning.

The burgers themselves were a huge hit.  Almost as popular as the little, inflatable pool we were cooling our feet in on that sultry afternoon.  

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Roasted Pepper Spread, Marinated Onions & Oroweat Sandwich Thins
makes 4 burgers

For the roasted pepper spread:
2 large Ancho chilis (you could use Poblanos or red bells - whatever you like - or use already roasted peppers in a jar)
olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

For the marinated onions:
1 large sweet onion (I used a Walla Walla), sliced into 1/4" rings
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
olive oil
4 multigrain Oroweat Sandwich Thins
baby salad greens & sliced tomatoes for serving

To make the spread*:
Turn on your oven's broiler.  Using about 1 tsp. per pepper, coat the outside of the peppers in olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Place the peppers directly under the broiler and roast, checking every few minutes. As the outsides of the peppers begin to bubble and blacken, flip them and continue to roast until all sides are charred.  Remove them from the oven, place in a glass or metal bowl, cover with plastic and allow to steam 10 minutes.  Peel, stem and seed the peppers.

Place the roasted peppers, garlic and 2 T. of olive oil into the food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  If the spread is too thick, add more olive oil by the teaspoonful until the texture is smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

*Can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator

To make the onion marinade:
Combine all ingredients in a container and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make and assemble the burgers:
Fire up your grill and get it to a moderate temperature.   Brush the portobello caps with olive oil and stick 'em on the grill.

Pull the onion slices out of the marinade and place them on the grill also, either on a grill pan or a piece of aluminum foil.  At this point I poured the remaining onion marinade over the portobellos (why waste it?) Roast and turn the onions as needed to prevent burning, about 8-10 minutes**.

Cook the mushrooms about 4-5 minutes** per side, until dark brown in color and slightly shrunken in size.  Remove from the heat.

When the mushrooms and onions are a minute or two away from finished, place the Sandwich Thins on the grill, inside down.  Watch them carefully to prevent burning!  Take off the grill when they're nice and toasty, just 1-2 minutes**.

Slather the bread with roasted pepper spread then top with a portobello, some grilled onions, fresh greens and tomato slices.  You're ready for delicious summer BBQ flavor! Enjoy!

**Cooking times may vary depending on grill temperature

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