Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Portabella Caps with Spinach, Egg, and Wild Mushroom Sauce (or: Portabella kind-of-Benedict)

A Cooks of Cake and Kindness Culinary Experience Part I: It had been WAY too long since Gayatri and I had gotten together to cook one of our fabulous meals, so we decided it was high time we did. We drew up a menu for a tantalizing 3-course meal (recipes for the other two courses to come!) and threw a small dinner party to show off our mad skills. The first course was inspired by this dish, and, of course, we made some modifications of our own. It has a Parmesan-mushroom sauce that turned out to be a big hit, and when our guests left with some leftovers, they came up with creative ways to repurpose the sauce themselves!
8 large Portabella mushrooms (with stems)
8 eggs
2 ounces dried mushrooms (ours was a wild mushroom mix)
½ onion finely chopped (we used about ¼ to ½ cup dried chopped onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup milk (we used whole milk)
½ tsp thyme
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil for cooking

Preheat oven to 400F.

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot (but not boiling) water (about ¾-1 cup) for about 20 minutes.
Rinse and de-stem the Portabella mushrooms, setting aside the stems for later use. Bake the mushroom caps with the gill side up for about 20 minutes (time will vary depending on thickness of the mushrooms), until they are tender. Set them aside to cool. Water from the mushrooms will have collected in the baking pan; set this aside for later use.
While the mushrooms are baking, either steam or blanch the spinach. We didn't have a steamer handy, so we blanched: bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, then add spinach to the boiling water and let it cook for only about 20-30 seconds before removing from the water.
Chop the Portabella mushroom stems, as well as the re-hydrated dried mushrooms, reserving the water they were soaking in.

In a large saucepan, heat canola oil. Sauté the chopped mushrooms, onion, garlic, and thyme, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved water from the dried mushrooms and the baked Portabellas and simmer at medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add the milk and Parmesan cheese and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5-10 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat oil for cooking the eggs. Individually fry each egg (this is what makes it kind-of-Benedict, which layers a poached, rather than fried, egg, on a base). Egg rings come in really handy for this so you can make more than one egg at once! We made ours to order, and everyone wanted over-easy, but sunny-side-up could be another popular option.
To assemble, top a Portabella mushroom with spinach, then layer on a fried egg, then top with the mushroom sauce. Take a moment to admire before devouring!
All the components of this dish are pretty simple to make, but combined they add a nice complexity to the finished dish. Each bite has distinct layers of taste and texture that blend really nicely - and the slightly runny egg yolks (if you're a fan) make the sauce even more delicious!


  1. Soooo delish! I'm definitely a fan of the runny egg yolk to top it all off!

  2. Kathryn, thanks for being one of our guinea pigs... oops, I mean guests ;-) ... We hope to have such dinners again in the future.