What is one of the things I like about mushrooms? They can cook really fast – and fast is all I need now, when I’m so busy with work and with the baby 🙂
Truth is I’ve been incredibly busy these past few weeks, and as much I’ve been meaning to make more elaborate dishes, time has always got in the way. At least with panini and sandwiches you don’t need a lot of time. Plus, you can always use items from your pantry and/or fridge, which means that you don’t have to find a “window” in your day to go shopping, and to make and carry around elaborate shopping lists. I couldn’t do either the other day, so I decided to use up a portabella mushroom, some mini peppers and two ovolini I had been storing in my fridge for awhile to make a vegetarian panino for myself and my husband.
You can use any kind of bread you want or have available. However, I think this panino works really well if made with wholegrain bread. Moreover, you can use 1/2 bell pepper if you don’t have mini peppers. A little bit of refreshing pepper flavor and crunchy texture can really make a difference to a panino!
1 cap portabella mushroom
2 slices wholegrain bread
2 mini peppers
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp dry oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice the mini peppers lengthwise and place them in a lightly oiled baking pan. Sprinkle oregano evenly on top. Put the pan in the oven and roast the peppers for about 20 minutes or until they are soft and cooked through. Take the peppers out of the oven and let them cool down.
While the peppers are roasting, heat up a grill pan over a medium heat. Add the butter to the pan, then also add the mushroom and sprinkle salt and pepper on top of it. Grill the mushroom for about 5-10 minutes or until the butter has been absorbed and the mushroom has softened. Add more butter or a few drops of vegetable oil to prevent the mushroom from sticking to the pan. When the mushroom is done, take it out of the pan and let it cool down.
Preheat the panino grill.
Brush the bread with some of the juice from the mushroom (which was left in the pan) or with a few drops of vegetable oil. Put red onion slices on the slice of bread which will make up the bottom of the panino. Cut the mushroom cap in half and put one half on top of the onion. Slice the ovolini and put a few of the freshly-cut mozzarella slices on top of the 1/2 mushroom. Add the other 1/2 mushroom, then add the remaining slices of ovolini. Add the roasted mini peppers, then place the other slice of bread on top of the peppers. Put the panino on the preheated grill to cook for about 30 seconds or until the bread is golden-brown and there are nice grill marks all over it.
This is how the preparation process looks like:
Serve the panino warm, with an extra helping of roasted peppers on the side. They are so colorful and delicious!
The mushroom – mini pepper mix works well with the melted mozzarella, which gives the panino a seductive texture and a wholesome appeal. Moreover, the aromatic oregano elevates the flavor combination on the whole, and works in harmony with the ground pepper in the mushroom to deliver gentle bursts of Mediterranean taste.
We really like this vegetarian panino – and I hope you like it too 🙂