My culinary school externship was originally meant to be spent at a favorite restaurant in Seattle, but I realized pretty quickly that making the commute from Tacoma to the west side would just be too much – especially on top of working and having a family at home.

So I spent this time at a newly opened cafe in the Stadium District of Tacoma.

Sidenote: The Stadium District is named after the ridiculously beautiful high school that our daughter went to, and was made famous by the movie Ten Things I Hate About You. Also a favorite.

Anyways, this Mushroom Carpaccio Salad is inspired by a dish I made a version of dozens of times every day during my short time at the cafe.

When I thinly slice the portobellos, I can feel the sunlight trickling into the open kitchen from the floor to ceiling windows that surrounded the place.

I hear the chatter of friends and families who have decided to meet for a quick treat or a special lunch date.

And I smell the cherry blossoms, maple and fir trees that lined the beautiful historic streets.

When I make this recipe, I remember Tacoma.
And it makes me happy.
I hope it makes you happy, too.

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  • Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Pesto
  • Sharp white cheddar
  • Microgreens
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Step 1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2

Clean mushrooms, remove the stems and scrape out the gills using a spoon.

Step 3

Place mushrooms on a sheet tray, coating both sides of the mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Remove from the oven and let the mushrooms rest until cool to the touch.

Step 4

Now let’s make some crispy shallots.

Put thinly sliced shallots in a saute pan and drizzle with olive oil until covered.

Saute shallots over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until golden and brown. This shouldn’t take long at all.

CAREFULLY remove the shallots from the HOT oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Set aside.

Step 5

Once your mushrooms are fully cooled, thinly slice them and set aside. 

Step 6

Smear a dollop of pesto on your plate.

Form little ribbons and rounds with the mushroom slices and lay them on the plate.

Generously season with salt and pepper.

Add grated cheese and crispy shallots.

Top with microgreens. (If you don’t have microgreens, lightly dressed arugula is a great option too.)

And enjoy!

Pro Tip

One mushroom per person is just about perfect when making this dish.