In honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, this week’s recipe is Portobello, avocado and roasted red pepper, goat cheese grilled cheese. The name of the recipe certainly is a mouthful, but that’s because this is not just your average grilled cheese. This is the classic grilled cheese stepped up several notches. The exciting aspect about making grilled cheese, or really preparing any recipe, is that it’s very easy to personalize to your own specific tastes. I’m not a fan of traditional yellow cheddar, so I’ve opted for a creamy version of the classic sandwich goat cheese. On this note, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients. If you’re not ready to be adventurous with your recipes yet, then stick to the recommendations and your taste buds will certainly not be disappointed —or bored for that matter.
The ingredients you will need for this particular recipe are: 1 red bell pepper, 1 meaty Portobello mushroom, half an avocado, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, garlic powder (optional), paprika to taste, two to three leaves of chopped fresh basil, 60 grams of goat cheese (approximately half of a small package) and 2 slices of pumpernickel bread or Italian herbs encrusted ciabatta, whichever your taste buds are more inclined towards (although the sweetness of the pumpernickel does provide a nice contrast to the savory-ness of the inside of the sandwich). It should be kept in mind that the overall preparation time for this recipe is around fifty minutes; forty minutes to prepare and ten minutes to cook. Furthermore, note that the recipe creates one sandwich.
To start, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As the oven is preheating, lightly brush the mushroom with olive oil. Sprinkle it with the garlic powder, salt and pepper and paprika. After the oven is done preheating, place the mushroom and red pepper on top of a thin single sheet of aluminum and then place the sheet onto the oven rack. Leave the Portobello cooking for around fifteen to twenty minutes before removing it from the oven. Leave the roasted red pepper until the skin is blistering and turned black, which should be more or less a total of half an hour. Once the mushroom is cooked, place it on a plate to cool. When the roasted red pepper is done cooking, however, put it in a glass bowl and cover the mouth of the bowl with plastic wrap. Doing so steams the red pepper and makes the skin easier to remove. After the red pepper has cooled enough to handle, peel and rub the skin off using your fingers. Then, slice the roasted red pepper and the Portobello mushroom (now cooled) into strips. Brush a bit of olive oil on the inside of both slices of pumpernickel. Place the roasted red pepper and mushroom strips atop the inside of one slice. Sprinkle the chopped basil on top.
In a pan on medium high heat, place the grilled cheese with salt and pepper added to taste. Place the half avocado, sliced and mashed (so that it is chunky and thick) into the pan as well. Cook the goat cheese and avocado mixture until the chunks of goat cheese in it is melting and turns a nice brown. Make sure to stir the mixture before covering the pan with its lid. Open the lid after two minutes or so and stir once more. After the goat cheese in the avocado mixture browns and melts, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Spread the mixture out onto the bare slice of bread generously, press the two halves together and serve. While you are munching and allowing the warm gooiness to fill your mouth, remember that it is in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month. So Happy Holidays to you and enjoy the feast… I mean sandwich!