We are not a vegetarian family, but we do love our veggies. In all honesty, I could easily transform to a vegetarian diet but I know that Hunter would never be on board. He loves his veggies, but only when they accompany a main dish. He's never been a big fan of mushrooms, so I had my doubts as I prepared this meal. Truthfully? I prepared a baked spicy chicken breast along side this dish just in case Hunter balked at the idea of an all-vegetable dinner. I was shocked to find that he LOVED the mushrooms and found my chicken to be second fiddle. He said that the chicken breast was similar to serving a McDonald's burger alongside filet mignon. I took that as the compliment that it was meant to be and relished in the fact that I may have finely mastered a truly vegan, gluten-free dish!
Grilled Mushroom Caps with Tomato Tapenade
1/2 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
6 large Portabella mushroom cap, stems removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups diced grape tomatoes
10 pitted kalamata or other good tasting black olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 of a medium onion, minced very fine
1/2 cup canned, drained chickpeas, crushed
1 large garlic clove, minced
Juice of a lemon, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh jalapeno, chopped
1 tight-packed cup fresh baby arugula leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1. For the mushrooms, in a blender, puree together the olive oil, garlic, pepper and oregano. Brush both sides of the mushrooms with the oil blend. Sprinkle the caps with salt and peppers. Set the rest of the oil aside for finishing the dish.
2. Make the tapenade by gently combining all the ingredients. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside. The tapenade will throw off liquid; reserve it for spooning over the arugula just before serving.
3. Prepare your grill pan over medium-high heat.
4. Grill the mushroom caps on both sides until tender all the way through and slightly crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes per side (until a fork pokes easily through each cap).
5. Scatter the arugula on a serving platter and spoon the reserved tapenade liquid over it. Once the mushrooms are grilled, immediately remove them to the platter. Top the caps with the tapenade. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining oil mixture. Serve right away to get the impact of hot mushrooms, the fresh greens and tapenade. Top with cheese.