Like Philadelphia itself, there is a lot to love about the city's signature sandwich: the cheesesteak.
But that delicious combination of beef, onions and cheese isn't the sort of thing you want to pack away every day, unless you're looking to pack on pounds. So I decided to see if I could make a healthier sandwich inspired by the cheesesteak but a bit more suited to the everyday.
I started by swapping out the beef in favor of that most steaklike of mushrooms, the portobello. Actually, it's just the roomy cap of the portobello, filled to the brim with roasted red peppers, grilled scallions, olives and mushroom trimmings, then topped with melted provolone cheese.
Finally, the whole thing is set on a slice of grilled rustic bread coated with a thin layer of rosemary mayonnaise. It might be meatless, but it's hearty. And portobellos are full of nutrients.
But these big mushrooms have to be cleaned before they can be savored. Start by removing the dark gills on the underside, lightly scraping them out with a teaspoon. Then simply rinse both sides of the cap under cold running water to remove any dirt. Some people advise against rinsing, preferring to wipe away the dirt with a damp cloth to prevent the mushrooms from getting waterlogged. But a quick rinse doesn't harm them, and it's quicker and more thorough than wiping them clean. Just pat the caps dry afterward so they'll be able to absorb the marinade.
Topping-wise, I've gone the Mediterranean route, but you're welcome to substitute the toppings of your choice. Maybe you'll want to grill and chop up some complementary mushrooms, such as shiitake, and put them on top. Maybe you'll opt to top it off with grilled broccoli or onions. Similarly, if you're not crazy about provolone, you can swap in thin slices of mozzarella, cheddar or Italian fontina. Finally, if you don't like mayo on your sandwiches, don't use it. Dijon mustard works nicely.