Fontina cheese and earthy mushrooms are the autumn food combo that you didn’t know you needed. This panini is a simple way to enjoy these strong flavors.
A panini is a sandwich that has been pressed and heated. It’s a great technique to use with sandwiches like this one. If you tried to make it like a regular grilled cheese, all the fillings would fall out when you flipped it. By pressing it down using another pan (if you have a panini press or hinged electric grill, feel free to use that instead) you get the middle hot, the cheese melty and the bread crispy.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, portabella or baby portabella, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 2 oval ciabatta rolls (each about 8 inches long)
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 4 ounces Fontina cheese (preferably Italian), thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with the salt, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Split the ciabattas in half horizontally and spread with the mustard. Top with the Fontina, mushrooms, and spinach and close the sandwiches.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and place another skillet on top of them. Place a few cans in the top skillet to weight it down and press. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, lift the weights and skillet off, turn the sandwiches over, and repeat the pressing for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bread is crisp and the cheese has melted. Serve the panini hot.