Smoked Tomatoes and Portabellas
Jeremy Bruch (What Made Milwaukee Famous)
a smoker (any kind of hot smoker, electric or gas or charcoal)
*you could get by with using a grill, but you have to pay a lot more attention.
a digital probe thermometer is very nice for things of this nature.
- a few pounds of roma tomatoes
- one or two pounds of mushrooms
- canola oil
- kosher salt
- According to your smoker’s instructions (I use charcoal) get it to a little below optimum temperature (for meats). While that’s heating up, soak the woodchips of your choice (I use pecan) in water.
- In the kitchen, slice the romas in half lengthwise and toss with a splash of oil and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. The portabellas, lightly brush for debris, remove stems (if you like) and give the same
- Once your smoker is at a nice temp (around 200 to
230) gently place your tomatoes (cut-side up) and mushrooms (gills up) on the racks in the smoker, toss your soaked woodchips (I wrap mine in foil to keep the mess down and the excess water off the coals) on the heat source and walk away. You’ll need to check on them periodically just to make sure the coals are maintaining a nice even temperature, so add coals if necessary.
The whole process takes about 4-6 hours for the mushrooms and 8-12 hours to get the tomatoes to “sundried” consistency. But you can also pull both the tomatoes and mushroomsoff after a couple hours and finish them in the oven on a rack at 200 degrees for a couple hours too… or, not. Whatever works for you.
But what can now be done with these two ingredients is vast and at times, alarming. The tomatoes can be used for anything you’d normally use tomatoes for: salsas, soups, salads, cornbread (hell yeah), or even compound butter (blue cheese, garlic, green onion, smoked tomato slivers) to blob onto a steak fresh off the grill. The mushrooms are great in anything requiring duxelle, in tapenades (incredible), but where they especially blow minds is in a basic bechamel (see mac and cheese recipe, replace cream with milk) and over biscuits. It’s sausage gravy and biscuits for vegetarians and every single one I’ve made this for nearly claws their own face off. In fact, the smoked tomatoes have been spit out by several vegetarians thinking it was meat. So, you could use those in the mac and cheese as well.
go nuts. enjoy. have fun. feed those you love.
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