10 December 2013

Roasted Broccoli, Mushroom & Shallot Panini

Today I had to scrape the car twice before 8am.  I think that makes me an official Midwesterner.  Time to celebrate with something yummy.  As the inches of snow accumulate, so does the need for warm and cozy food stuffs, like grilled cheese sandwiches.  Killer with soup, excellent with roast turkey or perfect flying solo, it is the time of year for toasty bread and cheese.  As of late, I cannot get past this amazing little creation that is both healthy and hearty.  Roasted veggies, shallots and sharp cheddar?  Yes please!

We first made this sammy using Thanksgiving leftovers...so we're a bit late, but better late than never!  The recipe from Food & Wine was divine the first time around (fried shallots...shut up!) but I was equally delighted with the leftovers.  When spread between two slices of wheat bread, they made for a sandwich filled with enough cheese to help insulate me a bit for the holidays and enough vegetables to make me feel a little better about eating so much cheese.  How perfect.

But alas, the original recipe had one tiny problem.  There was no way that I was going to take an hour to make a dish only to slap it between two slices of bread every time the craving crept up.  And the fried shallots, though amazing, obviously lost all of that lovely crispiness when covered with oozing cheddar.  So after some experimenting, I came up with an easier, simplified and similar version of the original.  And it's pretty rocking, if I do say so myself.  (No F&W...but maybe Food &Beer?)

The roasted flavors of these veggies are absolutely the show stopper, particularly the shallots.  They develop this amazing toasted, pungently dark flavor that the hubs was surprised I enjoyed as I am so staunchly anti-burned anything (scrape goes the dark brown toast).  The rich cheddar cheese and deep flavor of the roasted mushrooms and broccoli make for a very hearty vegetarian dish in which you won't even miss your meat.  I like making a few extra veggies on the side, but they're wonderful thrown into a scramble the next morning as well (on toast, obviously).

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  I have a panini to keep me cozy and warm.

Roasted Broccoli Mushroom & Shallot Panini (4 sandwiches)
  • 1 medium head broccoli
  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 4 oz sharp white cheddar, sliced
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a metal pan with non-stick.  Cut the the head of the broccoli into small florets, then peel the stalk and cut into small pieces about the size of the florets.  Transfer to a medium mixing bowl with the sliced mushrooms.  Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil.  Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper, then toss until the veggies are evenly coated.  Transfer to the prepared pan and transfer to the oven to cook for 5 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, slice the shallots.  After 5 minutes, add the sliced shallots to the roasting vegetables and toss together with a spatula.  Place back in the oven and roast for another 10-14 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are toasted to your liking and the shallots are browned.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Plug in a panini press or pre-heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Place the bread on a cutting board and butter one side of each slice (if desired) then flip the slices so they are butter-side down.  Scoop the roasted vegetables over two of the slices of bread, topping each with two ounces of cheddar.  Top with the remaining bread slices, leaving the butter-side up.  Place in the panini press and grill to your preference (alternatively, you can grill in a skillet like your standard grilled cheese).  

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