It’s kind of a joke in my family how much I love fresh from the vine-ripened tomatoes, and it is common to see me pluck a ripe, juicy gem from one of the plants in our garden and pop it in my mouth before it even makes its way into the house. So this recipe is an homage to my obsession with summer ripened tomatoes and a twist on a traditional Caprese salad.
And to pull a strong food memory from your head to your taste-buds, I kid you not the very first bite of this dish will make you think you’re eating a freshly baked pizza. The hearty ‘meatiness’ of the mushroom is the perfect base for the rich, herbal basil pesto, the creamy, hot melted fresh mozzarella cheese, and the bright, clean flavors from the fresh basil and the acidity from the tomato. It was one of those, “Oh my goodness that’s so good and totally unexpected,” moments.
I served these grilled mushrooms with grilled spicy andouille sausage, but the mushrooms would stand up well on their own for a light summer dinner.
4 large Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese rounds, 1/2 inch thick
4 slices fresh beefsteak tomatoes, 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1) Heat your grill to medium-high heat.
2) Place the mushroom caps face down on a plate and lightly spray them with the vegetable spray. Turn the mushroom caps face up, and season them with the salt and pepper.
3) Spread 2 tablespoons of the pesto into each mushroom cap then layer one slice of the mozzarella slice on top.
4) Transfer the mushroom caps to the grill and cook them for 8 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese has melted.
5) When the mushrooms are done, remove them from the grill and transfer them to a serving plate. Top each mushroom with a slice of tomato, followed by the fresh chopped basil and a dusting of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.