Portabella Mushrooms are a very large, round, firm mushroom with a flat, open brown cap and blackish gills. The interior flesh is creamy white to light gray. They have a meaty texture and a mild, woodsy flavor that make them a popular vegetarian substitution for meat in numerous dishes.
Rinse mushrooms under cold running water to remove any possible debris. To rehydrate prior to use, place desired amount into a bowl and cover with hot tap water and let soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Or, rinse and add directly to recipe that will cook for at least 25 minutes.
The Portabella Mushroom (Agaricus bitorquis) is an extremely large, round, firm, dark brown mushroom. It is, in fact, the fully mature form of the champignon, or common white button mushroom. Portabella Mushrooms typically measure between 5 and 8 inches in diameter, with an open, flat cap.
Champignon mushroom varieties have been cultivated since the early 1700s in Europe, although there is some evidence to suggest they are native to North American woodlands. Because this mushroom is the elder of the species, it has progressed past the "button" stage, when the cap and stem are joined and the gills hidden. In Portabella Mushrooms, the gills are fully exposed, which means that some of the mushroom's moisture has evaporated. This reduced moisture creates a dense, meaty texture and a more concentrated flavor.
Portabella Mushrooms' woodsy flavor and firm, meaty texture have broad appeal, and lend themselves to many different applications. They are frequently sautéed, grilled (often as a vegetarian alternative to a hamburger) or roasted. They're frequently used to top pizza or tossed in stir-fries. Use Portabella Mushrooms wherever you would a white button mushroom to enhance the flavor.