05 July 2007

Recreating Mushroom Swiss, Without the Patty

What do you do when you run out of ideas of what to eat for lunch but desperately want to get into the kitchen to make something?

Well, I'm not sure about you, because maybe you're not the kind who suffer from kitchen-withdrawal. But I make sandwiches. Other than salads, sandwiches are the next thing that I make most often. Probably because I pack my lunch a lot. Like salads, they're really easy to make, sometimes no cooking is required, and really flexible eats. Besides the 2 slices of bread, you can put, or not, anything in between. Hell, you can even skip the slice of bread on top and make tartines or bruschetta (I don't know what's the difference between them, but I think they're just open sandwiches sort of).

There's the usual ham and cheese, tuna mayo, egg salad sandwiches. But everybody gets tired of that sooner or later. So what can you do to spice up the humble sandwich? When I saw this over at the Homesick Texan's, I just thought I had to try it somehow! Now, I'm not a very big asparagus fan, and my mushrooms were sitting sadly in the corner of the fridge. Mushroom and cheese sandwich, a la Burger King's Mushroom Swiss (I just realised Mushroom Swiss seems to be available only in Singapore), with a crispy cheese coating. Now that's something!

Nicer-Than-Mushroom-Swiss Sandwich
2 slices bread (I used flaxseed loaves from the supermarket)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, chopped
4-5 baby Portabello mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-inch length cucumber, thinly sliced
Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

- In a small frying pan, stir olive oil and garlic over medium high heat till fragrant, about 30 secs.
- Add mushrooms and saute for 3 mins.
- Season with salt, pepper and Italian herb seasoning and saute till mushrooms are tender.
- Line 1 slice of bread with half of the cucumber slices and arrange mozzarella cheese on top of the cucumber.
- Pile cooked mushrooms onto the prepared slice of bread and top with the rest of the cheese and then cucumber slices. Finish off with the second slice of bread. This way, you will have mushrooms in the very center, followed by mozzarella, then cucumbers and lastly, bread.
- Brush the top of the sandwich with melted butter and sprinkle generously with half the grated parmesan cheese and some Italian herbs. Turn the sandwich over and repeat this procedure.
- Place on a baking tray and toast in a 200 deg C oven for about 10 mins on each side until the cheese is nicely browned.

Straight out of the oven, this sandwich is sinfully delicious! The crunch of the outer coating, juicy mushrooms, melted mozzarella and refreshing cucumbers. I made mine vegetarian because meat is such a chore to prepare when you want a quick bite. That said, it is no healthy meal (obviously) with that guilt-ridden cheesy coating. I also found that the cheese for the coating can make the sandwich quite salty, so don't dredge your mushrooms with too much salt when cooking!

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