I love a good grilled cheese. But sometimes it just feels right to introduce a vegetable to the mix, even if that vegetable is sauteed in butter. This seems to be my rationale come summertime (otherwise known as bikini season). To help this sandwich trim down even further, I decided to grill instead of fry it. Getting a nice charred cross-hatch on hearty country bread really does a summer sandwich good.
I made these mushroom melts for a picnic lunch in Central Park with my friend Joe, who is a musician, and can also take picnic lunches in the middle of the week if he wants to. Joe also turns out to be the mystery dinner guest who ate my unresolved tacos, so I owe him some mention here.
We’ve had quite the week of summer sandwiches on BGSK. To review, check out these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Pickled Onion, and yesterday’s Chicken Satay Bahn Mi Sandwiches.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Makes 2 sandwiches
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mixed wild mushrooms
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus 3 additional sprigs
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves (optional)
1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
4 slices country or sourdough bread (white or whole wheat)
1/3 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and the mushrooms, and saute, stirring every few minutes, until the mushrooms have begun to release their liquids, about 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt, and add the vinegar. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the white wine and the thyme, making sure to scrape up any of the mushroom drippings from the pan. Saute until the mushrooms are dark and caramelized, and the liquids have been fully absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley (if using) and set aside. (The mushrooms can be made up to 2 days in advance).
Arrange the bread on a work surface and brush on both sides with the garlic butter. Divide the cheese slices among the 4 slices of bread. Top two of the slices with the mushrooms, and sandwich them together with the remaining bread.
Heat a grill pan over a medium-high flame and brush it with olive oil. Grill each sandwich one at a time: cook the sandwich on the first side for 2 minutes, pressing down with a spatula. Rotate the sandwich 90 degrees and cook for an additional minute. Flip the sandwich, and repeat on this side. Remove the sandwich when the cheese is properly melted, and you have nice cross-hatch grill marks on the bread.