I love a good mushroom burger.

Remember the one I made with pesto, Provolone and roasted red peppers? That’s a classic, Italian-inspired portobello burger. When a restaurant has a portobello burger on the menu, that’s usually the one. It’s the standard.

If portobello burgers were panties, the Italian version would be white cotton.

And this Chipotle Portobello Burger would be a lace-trim mesh thong with loads of cheek peek.

It’s a Southwestern-style burger made with a chipotle-marinated portobello cap that’s grilled and topped with pepper jack, grilled onions and avocado slices on a buttered, toasted roll. When I saw Steven Raichlen cooking them up on “Primal Grill,” I wasn’t just interested, I was committed.

The slap and tickle of hot, spicy chipotle and cold, creamy avocado make this sandwich. It’s got bite, but it won’t make your lips chap. It’s thick and chewy and messy and packed with flavor – all the things we love in a burger without the extra fat.

If you’re not an avocado person, you could still get that cold, creamy element by flavoring your mayonnaise. Add some chopped roasted red peppers or  poblano. Or, take some of the chipotles in adobo you didn’t use in the marinade, and add them to the mayonnaise.

You could also take this combination of ingredients, especially if you have leftovers, and create some variations of your own. Chop the mushrooms, and make some killer wraps. Add sliced peppers, tomato and broccoli for vegetable fajitas. Chop all the ingredients and combine them with black beans or pintos for some hefty vegetarian burritos.

Or, just have another burger. And stay cheeky!

Chipotle Portobello Burgers

Adapted from Steven Raichlen’s “BBQ USA”

Makes 4

    Marinade:

  • 3 to 4 canned chipotle chiles with adobo sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Burgers:

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean with a dampened paper towel
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into slices, then skewered
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 4 individual ciabatta rolls, or other rustic roll, sliced in half
  • 4 slices pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 ripe avocadoes, pitted and sliced
  1. For the Marinade: In a food processor, combine the chipotles, garlic, onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. Place the mushroom caps in a single layer in a nonreactive baking dish, gill-side up, and pour the marinade over them. Cover and refrigerate, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Set your grill pan or grill for medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Brush the onion slices with melted butter. Place the portobellos (gill-side down) and the onion slices on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes, then turn with tongs. Spoon some of the reserved marinade on the gill-side of the mushrooms and continue to grill until tender and sizzling. Remove from the grill, and set aside.
  5. Brush melted butter over the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls and grill, cut sides down, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  6. For each sandwich, place a mushroom on the bottom half of the bun, and top with a slice of pepper Jack cheese, onion and several slices of avocado.