Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.
A burger that goes easy on meat is a challenge. But this one really rises to the occasion with meaty texture from a portobello mushroom cap and rich savory flavor from a little oven-crisped prosciutto.
Even though each burger sports just a scant half ounce of prosciutto, its appealing crunch and intense flavor take center stage in the dish. Go with the best you can afford. I used La Quercia, and it worked very well. As delicious as the ham is, this dish would be very satisfying without it. Use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire (which gets its depth of flavor from anchovies) and it easily becomes vegetarian. Swap nutritional yeast for the cheese, and it's vegan.
- For the Mushroom Marinade:
- 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large Portobello mushrooms, gills removed
- For the Arugula Mayo:
- 6 ounces silken tofu
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 grinds black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup packed chopped arugula
- 1 ounce grated Romano cheese
- 8 slices prosciutto, about 2 ounces
- 4 hamburger buns, preferably homemade (I use this recipe), toasted.
Make the marinade by whisking together the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar and oil. Place the mushroom caps in a large zip-topped bag and pour marinade over them. Seal and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight, flipping the bag periodically.
Make the arugula mayo by combining the tofu, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, olive oil, arugula and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until the mixture is smooth and bright green. Refrigerate until just before serving the burgers. You can make it ahead--it will keep for three days.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the slices of prosciutto on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, and bake 2 to 3 minutes before flipping, then a minute or two on the other side. The time will vary according to your oven, but the slices should darken in color and become slightly crisp (they'll crisp up nicely as they cool). Watch them carefully, they burn easily. Set aside while you cook the mushrooms.
Adjust the top oven rack so it's four inches below the heating element, and preheat the broiler. Remove the mushrooms from their marinade, brushing off and discarding excess, and place them on an oiled baking rack set inside a rimmed baking pan. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Toast your hamburger buns.
To assemble the burgers, spread some arugula mayo on the bottom of the bun, top with a mushroom, 2 pieces of prosciutto, and additional arugula mayo if you like. I like to serve burgers with roasted potato wedges.