Home cooks rejoice! Renowned natural food pioneers The Moosewood Collective have a new cookbook out that will quickly become one of your favorites (as reliably happens with their phenomenal volumes). This Philly portobello steak sandwich is just the upgrade your hoagie game has been looking for.
Moosewood’s Wynnie Stein grew up in Philly, home of the famous Pat’s Steaks. Her dad, Milt, has been eating steak sandwiches at Pat’s for at least seventy-five years and he still loves to go there. He remembers in his youth playing cards until the wee hours and then heading over to Pat’s so he could end the night eating his favorite sandwich. It cost fifteen cents. He would always eat two.
So, when Wynnie was asked to create a vegetarian version of this classic sandwich, she knew she’d better get it right. Milt thinks she did.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 medium portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1 large red or green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar, mozzarella or provolone cheese
- 4 Italian rolls or Italian bread, split and cut into 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Hot cherry peppers (optional)
For the sandwich
In a large bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Set aside.
Remove and discard the stems from the portobellos and, using a teaspoon, scrape out and discard the gills on the undersides of the caps. Place the caps, gill side down, on a cutting board and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Place the slices in the bowl and use your fingers to gently rub them with the marinade. Set aside.
Warm the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook until the onions begin to soften. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized, at least 20 minutes. While the onions cook, seed the bell pepper and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
When the onions have caramelized, raise the heat to medium, add the bell pepper and the marinated mushrooms have released some juice, about 10 minutes. Drain a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid into a small bowl and whisk in the flour. Stir the flour mixture back into the vegetables and continue to cook. Stirring constantly, until thickened. Add more soy sauce to taste. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and let it melt.
Assemble the sandwiches: Spread the butter on the rolls or bread and toast lightly. Then spread mustard (or ketchup, if you want to horrify folks from Philly) on the bread and divide the hot vegetables and cheese among the four sandwiches.
If you like, serve Philadelphia-style with hot cherry peppers on the side.