I’ll be honest, raw food doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m from Canberra and, especially since we always went away in the summer, home always felt cold and icy and so lovingly made soups, curries and all things warm and cosy were what I grew up knowing as ‘food’. Salad was just that silly green stuff on the side of the real deal and perish the thought of an all-cold meal.
While I’m still strongly in favour of a meal that feels like a warm bear hug, I’ve come a long way in my appreciation of all things raw. Even in the dead of winter I can appreciate the refreshing, enlivening crunch of sprouts, fresh herbs and raw fruit and veg. It feels like the goodness goes straight to your skin – one munch of a carrot and I’m glowing and alive.
This recipe can see the mushrooms served raw or with a little light grilling – which might be what you need to feel nourished if it’s a cold grey day. Either way you can enjoy the delicious flavour and the amazing texture that the mushroom takes on after a good long rest in the marinade. It’s a super weird phenomenon. You start with a regular mushroom and then *bang* six hours or so later you have this totally different beast on your hands. Still, obviously, recognisable as a mushroom but definitely without that sort of bouncy texture that portabellos and similar mushrooms usually have when they’re raw.
Actually, the texture makes this a perfect recipe for people who ‘don’t like raw mushrooms’.
It’s totally not what a raw mushroom usually feels like and it’s not what a cooked one feels like either. Told you it was weird.
The salsa is pretty delicious too. It’s light and fresh. The zing of the lemon and fresh herbs work really well with the smokey mellow-ness of the mushrooms. The herb crunch is pretty great against the silk of the avocado and the awesome and unusual texture of the mushrooms.
Even better, this meal looks super pretty – even with my
rubbish emerging photography skills you can see that. This makes a great casual lunch or dinner (especially when you’re busy because of the handy make-ahead nature of the mushrooms) but I’d also be quite happy to serve it for a more formal occasion. Of course it’s also great choice where you want something everyone will enjoy and that will suit a raw foodie – yay!
Portobello steaks with avocado salsa
Preparation time: 10 minutes + overnight marinading time
8 large portabello mushrooms, peeled and stems removed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
teaspoon cumin seeds
1 chipotle chilli finely chopped (or alternate chilli, if preferred)*
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cloves of garlic,
juice of half a lemon
2 avocados (cubed)
Whisk together all of the mushroom marinade ingredients then pour over the mushrooms and gently turn through. Cover and leave overnight or at least six hours.
Before serving, blitz all the salsa ingredients, except the avocado, in a blender. Then gently stir thorough the avocado.
To serve as a raw meal just plate up the mushrooms, with some of the tasty sauce, and top with the avocado salsa.
If preferred, the mushrooms can also be lightly grilled before plating. The idea is to warm them and get a bit of an grill texture/flavour, not to cook all the way through.
*chipotles provide a really delicious smokey flavour – they are much easier to find dried than fresh.