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Meat- or veggie-based? Meals with choices

The Baltimore Sun

The Flexitarian Table

By Peter Berley with Zoe Singer


By the Culinary Institute of America

Lebhar-Friedman Books / 2007 / $40

Vegetables, the latest cookbook offering from the Culinary Institute of America, is a beautifully illustrated compendium of recipes chock-full of vegetables. It is not strictly vegetarian, but it celebrates vegetables and legumes. Besides basic information (what is bok choy) and advice (how to trim an artichoke bottom), it includes delightful dishes such as fennel-and-potato chowder and hazelnut romesco sauce (to accompany grilled vegetables).

Portobello Mushrooms/Steak With Bread-Crumbs Salsa

Serves 4: 2 servings mushrooms, 2 servings steak


1/3 finely chopped red onion

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (divided use)

red-wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups packed bread crumbs made from fresh or day-old bread

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup packed chopped mixed herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, basil, thyme, tarragon, cilantro or mint


2 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean with a damp towel

extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper


one 14- to 16-ounce strip steak, 1 inch thick

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil (if pan roasting)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or light grill.

For the salsa: In a small bowl, combine the onion, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Pour in enough red-wine vinegar to barely cover the onion. Spread bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Bake, tossing halfway through, until the crumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes. Let cool.

For mushrooms: Brush mushrooms generously with oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. To grill, place mushrooms on hot grill and cook, turning once, until they are cooked through and slightly charred, about 15 minutes. To roast, place mushrooms gill side down in a baking dish and roast until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the steak: Pat the steak dry with paper towels. In a small dish, combine salt and pepper, then use the mixture to season the meat on both sides. To grill, place steak on medium-hot grill and cook, turning once, until done to taste, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. To pan-roast, heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat for several minutes. Add the olive oil and when it begins to smoke, add the steak. Cook until well browned on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip the steak and sear for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. To finish salsa and serve: Drain the onion mixture well. In a medium bowl, toss the onion with the bread crumbs, herbs and remaining salt. Slice the mushrooms and steak and serve sprinkled with salsa.

From "The Flexitarian Table"

Per serving (mushrooms): 335 calories, 7 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 747 milligrams sodium

Per serving (steak): 570 calories, 36 grams protein, 32 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 1,980 milligrams sodium

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