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Re: Portabello - cleaning question

Kelly wrote:
>I always run into this problem with portabello mushrooms:
>When I cook them, the sauce looks "dirty". I think dirt is coming
>out of the mushroom and it tastes like it- Does anyone have
>suggestions for effectively cleaning portabello's?

        I peel portabellos before I use them, and discard the stalk.  I find
the stalk very woody (but that may just be me), and dirt seems to hide
between the stalk and the gills of the mushroom cap.  From there a good
rinse, or a few seconds' soak/immersion, takes care of it.  To peel the
portabello caps; there's a little flap of skin overhanging the lip of the
cap, grasp it and pull it up and then back, toward the centre of the crown.
It comes off quite readily, leaving a little dime-sized circle in the
centre.  A millimetre or two of the mushroom's meat will come away with that
outer skin, but not enough to make any diference.  I prefer the taste and
texture of portabello (and portabellini) mushrooms prepped this way, and I
also find that they absorb a marinade better if they're peeled first.
        It can help a sauce if you grill or saute/ the portabellos
beforehand, and then add them to the sauce toward the end of the cooking
time.  Even without the 'dirt', portabellos darken the colour of a sauce
more than I (in some cases) like.

Hope this helps,

PS - I use the stalks for a good, strong homemade soup stock.