Mushroom, Leek, Chèvre Panini

Monday’s are my favorite! No, seriously. I know for most, it is possibly be the most dreaded day… but for me it’s the first day off after five consecutive days of working through the brunch craziness at the cafe. Normally, Kris and I have Monday’s off together so it is really extra special. We usually spend the day grocery shopping, walking our sweet pup on the beach trail, hitting up our favorite yoga class, and making dinner at home. Today, on the other hand, Kris got called in to the music studio for a couple of hours. Now what was I do to? I decided to drown my sorrows  take advantage of the afternoon and make myself something warm. I had only a few things left in the fridge, because it is monday after all; grocery day. I had been staring at this giant leek in my fridge for some time. It came in our CSA box and I had basically been drooling over it for the past week, wondering to which dish I would incorporate it. I had a few crimini mushrooms, some goat cheese, a great rustic loaf and voila! A panini was in the works….

This panini is quite the palate pleaser. Creamy, earthy, mildly sweet and crunchy; it was the perfect lunch for my “Han Solo” time. (That was a Star Wars joke for my nerdy hubby) 😉 If you have never had leeks before, you really need to add them to your grocery list. They are a slightly sweet and mild form of the onion family. They are pretty versatile, but are best known for their roll in soups and salads. Leeks are grown in sand to keep their stalks from getting too much sunlight. Sand is pushed high up around them to keep them blanched and white. This is why cleaning and washing leeks is so important! Sand gets in between the thin layers and can really ruin a dish if you skip the rinsing. The best part of the leek is the white stalk; so trim off the root and the very green leaves on the top.

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Mushroom, Leek, Chèvre Panini {Vegetarian}

(Prep time: 5 minutes, cook time: 15 minutes)
Makes: 2 Paninis 

4 slices rustic bread

1 Large Leek, rinsed & chopped in little half-moons

5 oz Chopped Crimini Mushrooms

4 oz Chèvre, Goat Cheese, crumbled

2 TBSPs Whole Grain Mustard

A few sprigs of fresh Thyme, leaves removed from the stems

1 large Tuscan Kale leaf, chopped

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

A few TBSPs red pepper jam for serving

1. Chop the root and the green top off the leek. Cut the leek in half, lengthwise. Then cut each half into small half-moons. Rinse the leeks in a sieve and be sure to get all the sand out of each layer (I run my fingers through each layer, separating them, to make sure they are clean). Chop the Crimini mushrooms into small pieces. Set both the leek and mushrooms aside.

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2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a small non-stick skillet. Add diced leeks, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper into the oil and sauté for about 3 minutes. Keep the moving the leeks around to prevent too much browning. Add the chopped Crimini mushrooms and another pinch of salt and pepper to the leeks and sauté together for about 5-6 minutes. Add the fresh thyme leaves and stir together. Remove from heat.

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3. Drizzle one side of each slice of rustic bread with a little bit of olive oil. On the other side of the slice, spread a thin layer of the whole grain mustard (do this to all four slices). Crumble the goat cheese over the mustard. Add the leek and mushroom mixture to the bottom of the sandwich. Add the chopped kale leaves to the top of the sandwich. Put the two sides together and into your panini press. Heat until goat cheese melts and bread has golden grill marks. Serve with red pepper jam, a crispy Sauvignon Blanc or an effervescent glass of sparkling water.

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One Response to "Mushroom, Leek, Chèvre Panini"

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  1. Samps

    6 February, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I want this soooooo bad!!!!

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