This is one of my husband’s favorite panini, and he likes to eat it as a dinner upon getting back home from work. It is a comforting and filling “double meaty” panino, in which the wholesome texture of the mushrooms works in harmony with the energetic flavor of the smoked ham. This is a good source of energy and replenishment during the winter season: it’s a nutritious “winter warmer,” which delights your senses and fuels your body.
For this recipe I used a 16oz container of mushrooms, which I had bought on sale from the local grocery store. I cooked them all and stored the surplus in a small pan in the fridge. You can of course buy a smaller 8oz container if you only want to make one panino, in which case you will have to halve the quantities of butter and red onion.
After making this panino I realized I had forgotten to put the sliced bread in the first picture, next to the other ingredients. I promise I’ll do better next time 🙂
16oz container button mushrooms
1/2 medium red onion
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1/4 lb smoked ham
2 slices smoked Gouda cheese
2 slices white or wheat bread (not pictured)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Peel the red onion. Cut two slices of onion and put them to one side for later. Chop the remaining onion finely and put it in a pan along with the butter:
Sauté the onion over a medium heat until soft:
Cut the mushrooms into thick slices and add them to the pan. The mushrooms will quickly start releasing water:
Cook the mushrooms over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Chop the fresh parsley and add it to the pan:
Cook the mushrooms for another minute or so, then put the pan to one side and let it cool. Doesn’t this look wonderful?
Take one slice of bread and put a slice of Gouda on it. Add the smoked ham and a generous layer of mushrooms, spread evenly. Add the 2 slices of onions and another slice of smoked Gouda. Put the remaining slice of bread on top. Grill the panino for 1-2 minutes or until golden-brown and crispy. Serve with extra mushrooms and sprinkled chopped parsley.
You can change the type of bread and use any ham or cheese you like. You can also turn this into a vegetarian panino by eliminating the ham. The meatiness of the mushrooms will shine through the melted cheese beautifully, while the sliced red onion will stand out as an audacious and crunchy surprise element.