I suppose I was feeling a little decadent when I stumbled upon this recipe by Tyler Florence. The earthy mushrooms and thyme compounded with the soft and sharp taste of the goat cheese and then throw in truffle oil, which I’m pretty sure is the preferred oil of God himself, will produce the richest panini known to man… you might even feel a little guilty after eating it, but in a good way.
I got this gorgeous panini maker for my birthday last year (Thanks Gail and Alan!) and since then I’ve become quite the connoisseur. I mean, who doesn’t love grilled cheese or sandwiches! The most beautiful thing of panini making is that there are literally a gazillion different food combinations you could use, creating a myriad of taste profiles. Have fun with it!
Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Truffle Oil Panini (courtesy of Tyler Florence via Foodnetwork.com)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as button, cremini, shiitake or oyster
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese, or other soft fresh cheese
2 tablespoons truffle oil*, optional
1 small focaccia loaf (I used an Italian loaf)
1 small bunch arugula
*Can be found at gourmet and specialty food shops.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they are browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them cool for about 15 minutes. Put the mushrooms into a food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped. (Alternately, you can chop them on a board with a knife.) Scrape them into a bowl. Crumble in the goat cheese and add the remaining thyme. Pour in the truffle oil, if using, and mix well to combine.
Cut the focaccia into 4 pieces, slice them horizontally, and drizzle with some olive oil. On the bottoms place 1/4 of the mushroom mixture and top with some arugula. Put the tops on and gently press each sandwich to flatten it slightly. Drizzle some more olive oil over the tops.
Place each sandwich on a preheated panini press and grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Alternately, preheat a dry cast iron or non stick pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and weight it down with another pan or a clean brick wrapped in foil. Grill 5 minutes, turn the sandwich over, re-weight it, and grill for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.