I have already mentioned that I'm a Cooking Light fan, but haven't mentioned one of my other long-standing magazine subscriptions. Everyday Food is a nice little Reader's Digest-sized gem full of goodies, courtesy of Martha Stewart. I have yet to try something I didn't like, and these open-faced melts (name changed by me: Red Pepper, Broccoli, and Portobello Melts is too long of a name, don't you think??) are one of my current favorites. My meat-loving husband asked me to mention that he gives these two thumbs up, so there you have it. He was pretty happy to find these on the menu last night.
-adapted from Everyday Food
*first let me say that you really don't need to measure anything here. Truly. Mix and match, use up what you have, you can't lose. I'll just tell you what I usually do.
- sliced sourdough or country bread (here comes another recipe with that darn sliced sourdough from Target I am obsessed with). You want something really sturdy, but already sliced. Do not use sandwich bread.
- 2 bell peppers, sliced (not green, though)
- 1 pkg broccolini, chopped (we'll talk about this in a minute)
- 1 pkg sliced cremini (aka baby portobello) or button mushrooms, or buy 'em whole and slice 'em yourself
- 1/2 c. light mayo
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- sliced fontina or Gouda cheese
Combine garlic and mayo in a small bowl and set aside.
OK, let's talk broccolini. The recipe originally called for broccoli florets, and feel free to use those. I just happen to really love broccolini, and find that the amount that comes in a package is perfect for these sandwiches. Broccolini has thinner stalks, and is technically a cross between broccoli and Chinese chard. It comes in a plastic-wrapped tray (usually from Green Giant) and is found in my stores close to the mushrooms. It is fantastic in a stir-fry. This now concludes my broccolini advertisement.
Toss vegetables with a bit of olive oil (a tablespoon or so) and salt/pepper to taste. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil (yes, broil) for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. You want them tender and well-browned. Watch closely so they don't burn. Mine looked like this when I removed them from the broiler.
Lay your slices of bread out on another baking sheet (I usually go for 8 or so), and spread a little of your garlic mayo on each slice. Top with vegetables and sliced cheese. I happen to really think fontina is a good choice here--it's mild, nutty, creamy, and melts beautifully.
The original recipe calls for Gouda. I think provolone or mozzarella would also be reasonable substitutions. Pop the sandwiches back under the broiler (watch them closely) until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
If you want a real treat, top the sandwiches with some sliced avocado. It is divine and makes the sandwich reminiscent of the veggie melt at one of my favorite local restaurants (Chester's for all you Rochesterites). I didn't have any today, so we ate as-is. Serve these up with a knife and fork and enjoy every delectable bite.
Note: If you want meat on these, try sliced grilled or rotisserie chicken, sliced smoked turkey from the deli, or crispy bacon. They'd all be great, but trust me, these are so good you won't miss the