One of the many things we will miss about Alex’s dad is his extraordinary cooking. He culls ideas from here and there, largely from the Hartford Courant (“America’s Longest Continuously Circulating Newspaper”) and people around him, masticates it all mentally guided by his own innate sense of umami, and suddenly flashes out with something that is, often, pure culinary genius. One such recent flashing, my personal favorite of the summer, was his version of grilled-and-stuffed Portobello mushroom caps. Dad grilled these along with some steaks and potatoes from the garden the other night, standing out on his stone patio, calmly working his magic.
Portobello mushroom caps, rubbed clean and marinated in Cabernet Sauvignon for a bit. Tomatoes (seeded and drained) and a handful of chopped basil leaves from the garden, black olives (halved), and feta mixed in a bowl with salt, pepper, and garlic. Caps grilled opening-side down for a few, then flipped, grilled, and filled with the tomato mix. Slices of provolone melted on top. You will eat the whole thing before you realize that you haven’t had any steak yet. And you won’t care.