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Vegetable and goat cheese panini

February 10, 2010

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Makes 4

Use a panini press if you have one, but a grill pan or heavy skillet works well.

1 red bell pepper, halved and cored
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 to 8 ounces plain goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped pitted green or black olives
1 tablespoon capers
8 slices sourdough, country, or multigrain bread
1 cup fresh baby spinach
Olive oil (for brushing)

1. Light the broiler. Broil the red peppers, skin side up, for 4 to 5 minutes or until they blacken. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 5 minutes. Peel off the skins. Slice the pepper into thin strips and cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths.

2. Using a small spoon, scrape out the black gills on the undersides of the mushroom caps. Cut the caps in half and then slice crosswise.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid evaporates. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute more. Cool to room temperature.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, olives, capers, mushrooms, and red pepper. Divide the mixture among 4 slices of bread. Top with spinach and cover with the remaining bread. Brush olive oil on the top bread slices.

5. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in the skillet, oiled sides down. Top with a large, heavy pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Sprinkle the top bread slices with oil. Turn the sandwiches, replace the pot, and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Cut the sandwiches in half on a diagonal.

Adapted from “In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen’’