Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Portobello Melt

Although I do love meat, when I'm feeding just myself I usually go for vegetarian fare. This often means my dishes are centered around eggs (frittatas or omelets with lots of veggies), beans,  or cheese (I'm a connoisseur of all manner of grilled cheese sandwiches), but mushrooms also make a great savory, hearty main course. Portobello mushroom melts are an extremely common vegetarian option on restaurant menus, usually grilled and slathered in cheese, peppers, and onions. Although that most definitely makes for a delicious meal, I went a more Mediterranean direction with my portobello melt. The intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes are a great foil to robust and hearty mushroom, with a layer of richness from the cheese and freshness from the spinach. If you have the time, this melt would be even more flavorful if the portobello cap is marinated and grilled separately before putting the sandwich together. While the big, meaty bite of a portobello cap is satisfying, you could also prepare this melt with great success using shiitake mushrooms instead. And if you're not in the mood for a sandwich, throw this delicious suite of ingredients into a frittata for a superb breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Portobello Melt
serves 1

2 slices whole grain bread
1 large portobello mushroom capped, stem removed and cleaned
0.5 oz. recipe-ready sun-dried tomatoes (scant 1/4 cup)
0.5 oz. spinach
1.5 oz. mozzarella cheese
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Heat a panini or sandwich press according to manufacturer's instructions until hot. (Alternatively, heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat.)

2. Place portobello cap on one slice of bread, top with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese, and top with the second slice bread.

3. Spray the panini press with olive oil cooking spray (or brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil). Put sandwiches on press, pull top down and cook until sandwich is browned and crisp, 4 to 8 minutes. (If using a grill pan cook until first side is brown, then flip and continue cooking until opposite side is browned and crisp, placing a heavy pan on top of sandwich during cooking, if desired.)

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