The first time I had this delightful dish was at Max’s Opera Cafe in San Francisco, shortly after it had opened. A friend and I had gone to a performance of Die_Fledermaus and stopped at the cafe after for a late supper. It was not only the first time I had this dish, it was the first time I had experienced Portabellas. Since then, 1982, I have been trying to reproduce that delightful experience and I think I have succeeded. It’s a very special dish and really quite easy.
4 large, perfect Portabellas
4 slices of French bread, lightly toasted and buttered
Fresh Basil Pesto – (or use commercial)
Grated Swiss cheese – (Emmentaler or Gruyere)
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and save to use in Making Stocks, Broths or Bouillon. Brush the mushrooms gently to remove any loose material. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and slide the mushrooms in. Leave only until the water returns to the boil. Remove immediately and place on cold running water to cool as fast as possible. Drain extremely well.
When the mushrooms are drained and dry, place one on each of the pieces of buttered toast. Place about a tablespoon or so of pesto sauce in each mushroom cup and spread around to fill the cup. Top generously with grated cheese and add a dash of paprika. Place on a baking sheet and put under the broiler or in a hot oven until the cheese is melted, bubbling and just beginning to brown. Serve hot.