Blog Post

After the Fires… a Good Fire.

All our outdoor activity stopped for a long week as heat and forest fires raged and a huge smoke cloud enveloped our area. It felt like living next to a vulcano in eruption, everything was covered in ashes. Eventually the smoke cleared and we welcomed the return of the ocean breezes, visited our garden to harvest tomatoes and basil. With all that bounty Peter made lots of tomato sauce and pesto.

Parmigiana di melanzane

Parmigiana di melanzane

We had been yearning for a parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmesan) so we slid the grill over the coals in the oven and decided to throw in some portobella mushroom al pesto while we waited for the parmigiana to fully bake. Our neighbors Jules and Ocean sniffed the aroma, dropped by and had a bite… Life was good in our neighborhood! And the recipes easy as one, two, three… But then we had the advantage of home-made sauces, of course 🙂

Layering the eggplant parmesan

Layering the eggplant parmesan

Grilling the eggplant instead of deep frying it makes the parmigiana much lighter, while retaining all the flavor. In a metal pan, spoon some tomato sauce on the bottom and then layer grilled eggplant, mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and basil. Spoon some more tomato sauce and repeat the layering, finishing off with a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Slide in your wood fired oven that is about 450 to 400 degrees or so. It will be baked to bubbly perfection in about 20 to 30 minutes.

The great thing about this dish is that it accumulates good taste if you leave it in the fridge overnight. Keep this in mind if you are preparing ahead for a party.

Grilling the portobella mushroom al pesto

Grilling the portobella mushroom al pesto

While you wait… brush both sides of a portobello mushroom (use the cap only) with pesto sauce. Grill both sides, top side last. Lastly, add a slice of Provolone cheese and let it melt. Slice a good, rustic Italian bun and brush with olive oil. Grill the bread. Assemble mushroom in the bun to taste as you would a burger (but please hold the mayo, ketchup, mustard!). We were content using a slice of tomato and lettuce, to allow the burst of pesto flavor. When grilling the mushrooms and the eggplant, go easy on the coals, as they only need medium heat to cook. In other words, don’t pile the coals high or too hot under the grill.

Fun thing about being outdoors and it doesn’t matter if your fingers get all sticky and things get out of hand… it’s an easy clean-up.

Buon appetito!

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Related Posts

Olive Cake

I adapted this fabulous recipe for my wood fired oven and I don’t mind

Scaccia Siciliana – Wood Fired Oven Recipe

This typical wood-fired oven recipe from Sicily is a super-easy kind of “wrap”, something

Baking Bread in a Pizza Oven Using Cast Iron

Here’s what I bake in my pizza oven that I absolutely love: no-knead

Where to Buy the Wood Fired Oven Used by Master Pizzaiolo Ciro Salvo

Check out this video of Ciro Salvo cooking pizza in one of our wood

How to Roast Chicken in a Terracotta Pizza Oven

Cooking chicken in a brick pizza oven is easy and fast! Particularly if

Pizza Part Two: Kneading, Shaping, Toppings, and the Bake!

The second part of the post about pizza written by Kevin McQuade, you don’t

Pizza Part One: It’s All About the Crust!

In this post we have asked Kevin McQuade, blogger and bread-maker extraordinaire, and owner

Fennel, Gruyere, and Black Pepper Pizza*

When it comes to garnishing pizza, experimenting is really the fun part of it!

Cornish Game Hen with Cherries and Harissa

I experimented in the pizza oven last week and the outcome is this delicious

Ceci in the Pizza Oven!

Chickpeas, garbanzo beans, or Ceci for the Italians, are a beloved staple in all

Wood-Fired Kale Chips plus Carrots and Turnips

Once you fire up your wood-burning oven you might as well use the “left-over”

An Easy Pork Roast for Your Pizza Oven!*

Use your wood fired oven to impress your friends with this easy-to-make recipe.

The Best Tools for Your Wood-Fired Oven

During a visit to a beautiful old church in southern Sweden I spotted a

Baking Bread in Your Wood-Fired Oven

I will be turning over a new leaf, I mean… a new loaf, this

Pumpkin Pizza for the Holidays!

For Thanksgiving this year I thought of offering small pumpkin pizzas as appetizers to

About Flour and Pizza

Once you master the basics of pizza making you will most likely start the

Insulating Your Wood-Fired Oven

It can be a bit confusing at first to figure out how to properly

Mike and Susan Share Their Pizza Oven Project

Pizza oven projects are so varied, but there’s the common thread of passion and

It Started with Pizza on the Island of Capri

Via Krupp. Photo by Raffaele Mastroianni. I remember well the first time I had wood

Walnut & Black Pepper Cookies in the Wood-Fired Oven

I am not known to follow recipe books, perhaps because I like experimenting, following

Fire Up Your Pizza Oven for the Holidays!

Turkey is something one has to do in a wood fired oven to really

Planning Your Wood-Fired Oven Meal

As Francis Mallmann puts it, “Cooking with wood fire is like going on a

Recipe: Wood-Fired Pizzarollis

You will appreciate serving the pizzarollis at your parties because you can conveniently use

Starting the Fire in Your Pizza Oven

It’s funny how you can repeat a process for years and then suddenly your

My Wood-Fired Oven is Ready for Spring!

Have been too busy to post a blog lately… and that’s because I have

Happy New Pizza!

A wonderful crust with fennel, mozzarella and fontina We started the year stumbling upon a

Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Official Cutting of the Pizza A heartfelt thank you to all our friends and

Getting Ready…One, Two, Three, Testing

Thanksgiving is around the corner and if you are planning to bake your holiday

Build a Good Fire

Even in California the fall is showing off its first chill and some rain.

A Summer Birthday

A great grilled appetizer Our friend Mike had his birthday party over the weekend and

Pomodori al Forno

Tomato Harvest It is so much fun to harvest in the garden early on a

Wood-Fired Goodness

Cherries getting ready for the wood fired oven! Tomorrow is the 4th of July and

Life is Sweet

We’ve had such a spell of wonderful weather here in Los Angeles… the cool

Spring Around “Il Forno”

Black Cod with Fennel al Forno As spring vegetables make their appearance here in California,


Artichokes – From the Farm to the Wood-Fired Oven In Italy I got accustomed to

For the Love of Pizza!

Hot Pizza Fresh from the Oven At home, my husband Peter is the pizza maker,

Two Words for 2009: Buon Appetito!

Bread by Charles Van Over, Fresh from the Oven The Italian in me has the

Christmas Around the Oven

Enjoying the pizza oven outdoors. In California we can pretty much entertain outdoors almost all

Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Fall is the season for harvesting and storing, for bundling up and sitting around

In the Beginning…

Oliveto My fascination with wood fired ovens began in Italy. In the early seventies my parents