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Recipe from: Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini: Sandwiches, Italian Style by Viana La Place
Servings: Makes 2 "toasts"
A "toast" is the Italian version of a grilled cheese sandwich. Besides cheese, there might be some prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, roasted peppers, or artichokes. In this version of the panini recipe, thin slices of fontina are topped with marinated red peppers and mushrooms, then the "toast" is grilled until the cheese melts.
3 to 4 ounces imported Italian fontina, thinly sliced and cut to fit the bread
4 slices white bread (pane in cassetta), made from unbleached flour
8 thin strips of marinated red peppers
8 marinated mushrooms, sliced (see recipe below)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Arrange the fontina on 2 slices of bread. Arrange peppers and mushrooms over the cheese. Cover with the remaining 2 slices of bread.
Use a panini grill and cook until the cheese melts and the bread is golden.
Alternatively, place the toasts on a hot, lightly-oiled stovetop grill and weight down with a heavy pan. Cook, turning once, until the cheese melts and both sides of the bread are golden brown and marked by the grill.
Servings: Makes 2 cups marinated mushrooms
Marinated mushrooms are a breeze to make and taste much better than store-bought. Sliced marinated mushrooms add texture and tang to all sorts of sandwich fillings; or mound them in rolls lined with tender lettuce leaves for mushroom panini. A few perched next to a panini sandwich make an attractive accompaniment — juicy little morsels to savor between bites.
1 pound button mushrooms, all about the same size if possible
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
⅓ cup water
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
small pinch hot red pepper flakes (about ⅛ teaspoon)
a few black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
small pinch hot red pepper flakes (about ⅛ teaspoon), optional
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional
Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Trim stems if necessary. Cut any very large mushrooms in half.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add mushrooms and sauté over low heat until just tender. Transfer to a bowl.
Place remaining olive oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, herbs, black peppercorns, salt, and optional hot red pepper flakes in sauté pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour over mushrooms in the bowl. Stir in the optional balsamic vinegar. Let mushrooms cool in marinade. Cover and refrigerate over night.
Bring to room temperature before serving. To serve, lift out of marinade with a slotted spoon.