Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Shallot & Brie Panini

This is a perfect winter vegetarian sandwich, earthy, warming, flavorful but mellow, and incredibly filling. Out of all the paninis I've pressed in the maker I got for Christmas, I think this is my favorite. Perhaps not the most appealing to take a picture of, but I swear there is one delicious bite after another in that green and brown tangle!

Wild Mushroom, Brie & Caramelized Shallot Panini
Makes 1 sandwich

*2 tablespoons butter, divided
*EVOO (I used a garlic-infused variety)
*2-3 shallots, sliced thinly
*2 cups mixed wild mushrooms, stemmed, wiped & sliced 
*Scant 1/2 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
*Balsamic vinegar
*2 slices hearty bakery bread
*3-4 slices of Brie
*Palmful of baby arugula
*Your favorite fancy mustard (chablis Dijon, for me)

In a wide cast-iron skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter with a drizzle of garlic infused oil and add the shallots. Sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt (and a little pinch of sugar too, to speed things along) and caramelize for a good 30 minutes. If you don't have garlic infused oil and want a hint of the beautiful stinking rose, feel free to mince a clove up and throw it in with the shallots for the last few minutes of caramelizing. Remove the shallots from the pan and add the mushrooms and another drizzle of oil (regular evoo used this time), then saute for 4 minutes before adding the thyme and seasoning with salt & pepper. Cook another minute, splash with a touch of balsamic, and toss well.

Brush one side of each of the bread slices with a bit of the other tablespoon of butter (melted or room temp), then assemble the sandwich by smoothing a thin layer of mustard on one slice, then top with the shallots, mushrooms, arugula and finally, the Brie. Press the sandwich in a preheated panini maker for 4 minutes or so, until the sandwich is toasty. Cut 'n eat!

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