These Portabello Mushroom Sliders were a contest entry. To honour Canada's 150th birthday celebration, Mushrooms Canada held their annual Spotlight Appetizer Contest. And this year they asked for submissions with a Canadian theme. The winning entry was showcased this fall at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference in Ottawa. And the winner received a full conference pass.
Unfortunately, I was not the winner. Nonetheless, I was pretty excited about what I came up with. These sliders, with mini portabellas, are piled with delicious maple caramelized onions. And then topped with Oka cheese and Canadian back bacon. These three ingredients make this little burger as Canadian as they come.
What Makes These Sliders So Canadian?
Maple Syrup, of Course
Of course, there's Maple syrup. It's the first thing, or one of them, that comes to mind when you think "Canadian." Since Canada produces seventy percent of the world's maple syrup, it makes sense. The maple caramelized onions are my favourite part of these portabella sliders. They are crazy delicious and a perfect complement to the mushroom, bacon, and cheese. Maple syrup accents the onion's sweetness as they caramelize and the flavour is delicious.
Canadian Back Bacon
Then there's the back bacon. American friends may also know this as Canadian bacon. This bacon comes from the pork loin. It's very lean and more similar to ham than bacon. Back bacon comes precooked and sliced in thin medallions. It's a fixture on eggs Benedict and delicious on pizza. And on these sliders, too.
And Oka cheese. Oka is very much Canadian cheese. Monks in the 18th century in Quebec were the original oka cheesemakers. They still make Oka cheese in Quebec today, and it has a very interesting history. If you are interested in the story of the monks and Oka cheese making, this is a great article in an old Globe and Mail. It's an absolutely delicious semi-soft cheese with a coppery orange rind, and a buttery, creamy, slightly nutty flavour. I couldn't think of better cheese to use with portabella mushrooms.
More About Portabello Mushroom Sliders
The mini portabello mushrooms are the perfect size for sliders, so, they are very quick to grill. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is caramelizing the onions. I like having a jar of these onions in the fridge. The recipe makes more than you'll need for eight sliders but they are delicious for lots of other ones. You can use them on pizza, sandwiches, or tacos. Or top grilled meats or fish. They are also a nice addition to a charcuterie board.
Back bacon, being lean, has a chewy texture. The first time I made these sliders, we found that it made the slider a bit difficult to bite into. So when I made them again, I cut the bacon medallions into strips. Problem solved.
These are pretty Canadian, eh? Portobello mushroom sliders are a perfect appetizer for any kind of meal. They can also be a meal on their own (then everyone has more than one) if you serve them with fries or a salad. So, even though I didn't win the contest, this recipe is still a winner in my books, and, I hope, yours too!
Portabella Mushroom Sliders – Canadian Style
Maple Caramelized Onions
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large onions sliced into ⅛" slices
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 8 mini portabella mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- 8 slices Oka cheese or enough to cover mushrooms
- Eight slider buns
- Dijon mustard
- 8 slices back bacon sliced into strips
- 8 bib lettuce leaves trimmed for slider buns
Maple Caramelized Onions
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
- Add the onions and cook, stirring, until starting to soften.
- Stir in ½ cup water & bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has disappeared.
- Stir in another ½ cup water, and continue cooking 30-40 minutes, adding more water when needed.
- Stir in maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
- Cook, stirring until onions are brown and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove from heat and set aside
- Wash mushrooms and remove stems.
- Put mushrooms in a shallow dish and whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Pour olive oil mixture over mushrooms, turning to coat
- Allow mushrooms to sit for 30 minutes while onions are cooking.
- Oil grill with cooking spray and heat to medium-high.
- Grill mushrooms covered, about 5 minutes each side
- During the last minute of grilling, top each mushroom, stem side with cheese. Cover and heat until the cheese is melted. Remove from grill.
- While mushrooms are grilling assemble the slider buns by spreading each with Dijon mustard and mayonnaise on each of the halves.
- Top the bottom halves with lettuce, bacon, and caramelized onions.
- Add the cheese-topped mushrooms, and top with the other half of the slider bun.