It might surprise you that here at Spices Inc World Headquarters, we stand as a house bitterly divided on the subject of mushrooms. Fruits, vegetables, chiles… we can lounge around and wax poetic all day on the glories of food. But mushrooms? This is where our spines stiffen and the discussion can get heated. It’s funny, isn’t it, how people who are obsessed with a food can become fanatical in its defense? “But they’re so good for you! And there’s so many kinds you haven’t tried! They’re like little flavor sponges!” For those who stand opposed to mushrooms, it doesn’t matter. It seems like you either get it, or you don’t. Couple that controversy with the topic of pizza, and there’s bound to be an even bigger argument. There’s a unique quality that comes with an average and familiar food like pizza, and that’s the energy that people are able to direct towards strong and steadfast opinions on the best kind and what it’s topped with. Following our own prescription from Caramelized Onion, Fig, and Goat Cheese Pizza we’re working with 1) crust 2) sauce and 3) stuff on top, although our crust strays a little from the ordinary. Right off the bat, if you’re a person who gags at the sight of friendly little mushroom slices on a pizza, this is absolutely not going to be the pizza for you- maybe you could try using an anchovy as its own little pizza plank à la a French bread pizza (not really). This is a great recipe if you’re looking for a recipe not loaded with carbohydrates because you’re on a ketogenic diet, are diabetic, or are just not a fan of crusts!
What’s in a superfood? A testament to the power of marketing. There is no true test that a food must meet in order to be called a “superfood”- no markings or minimum nutrition standards. Typically, a superfood boasts the power of vitamins and antioxidants, but there’s really not any regulation from a specific agency that makes sure a food can or cannot be called a “superfood.” Crazy, huh? If we were to make our own definition of a superfood, we’d say it would have to take at least one page out of Portobello’s book on Vitamins and Mineral power- we’re talking Copper, Selenium, Potassium, Niacin… the list goes on. One of the most remarkable nutritional quirks however is that some types of mushrooms even contain Vitamin D, a vitamin that is extremely hard to come by in the form of anything not involving animals (short of the sun). If you are a vegan or vegetarian who are looking to up your intake and not rely too heavily on supplements, one trick is to actually leave your mushrooms out on a window sill with their “gills” facing up an hour or two before cooking them so that they can absorb even more UV rays!
For our Portobello Mushroom Pizza, Chef Jeff picked large mushrooms that were all roughly the same size, so they could cook through evenly at around the same time. When cleaning your mushrooms, it’s better to use a dry paper towel or cloth than try and wet them as they tend to absorb a lot of moisture. For toppings the world is your oyster [mushroom] so to speak, and you can go with really anything that can fit inside their happy arms- but just like the water tip, try to avoid any super moisture rich foods that are going to leave your mushroom soggy. And then! The pièce de résistance for our dish, that makes it feel less like a mushroom with pizza sauce and cheese and more like a true Portobello PIZZA: The Pizza Seasoning, of course! Our Pizza Seasoning has no salt, but does have Mediterranean Oregano, Basil, Garlic, Onion, Thyme, Fennel Seed, Red Bell Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, Parsley, and Marjoram! Phew. Even if you’re a spice nut like us and do have all those ingredients, why not just shake and go with a jar ready to rock? Jeff’s choice to top with bell pepper were really nicely complimented by this seasoning, but a little bit of browned sausage on top would taste phenomenal with the fennel seed. The possibilities are as endless as the inevitable arguments surrounding mushrooms.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush olive oil on both sides of mushroom. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the sauce evenly among the mushroom caps. Place cheese on next, then bell peppers, tomato, and onion. Top with a pinch of Pizza Seasoning.
- Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes.