I’ve started to notice the mushroom man at the market again, with his practical windbreaker and earnest smile. He looks misty-forest ready, as if he arrived at the market by way of a foraging expedition. He must be pedaling something magic, I think, because his line is five shoppers deep at the market on Sundays. Or maybe it’s just that time of year.
The Frenchman has been away for two weeks now, and I am melancholy. But, there is just enough of a chill in the air to encourage me to turn on the oven. While I don’t feel inclined to make a production out of dinner for one, I do find that chopping vegetables, and then watching them transform at the oven door like a child at the aquarium, acts as a temporary nostrum. This recipe is a simple supper, a satisfying lunch. Plus, the Frenchman loves this combination of roasted mushrooms, onions, and potatoes. I cook it and pretend as though he is here.
Jazz up the vegetables to your liking with thyme, or rosemary, or garlic. Substitute sweet potato or squash for the Yukon gold. Make more than you need: in nearly the same amount of time, you can double or triple your vegetable output. Eat the leftovers with eggs–runny, scrambled, or omelette-d. Stir them into carbonara, or any other pasta, grain, or couscous for that matter, perhaps with a zip of lemon juice, parmesan and goat cheese. Serve alongside sausages (we favor garlic chicken) or strewn across a pizza. Any leftovers make a great side dish, or an addition to this salad. However you choose to serve it, this recipe is food to comfort, food for a rainy, indoor kind of day.
Makes 2 sandwiches. This version gives a heavier hand to the roasted vegetables than it does to the cheese, so feel free to increase the cheese quantities, if you want something very ooey gooey. The vegetables can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
1 punnet button mushrooms
1 medium white onion
1 medium Yukon gold potato
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
Turn on the oven to 375F.
Rinse the dirt from the mushrooms. Pat them dry with paper towels or a tea towel, and then cut each into quarters. Peel the onion and divide it lengthwise. Slice each onion half into thin half moons. Rinse and peel the potato; as with the onion, split it lengthwise and cut both halves into half moons, a bit thinner than the onion slices. Move the vegetables to a large mixing bowl as you prep. Toss the vegetables with the kosher salt, several cracks of black pepper, and the olive oil; toss until all the vegetables are evenly coated. Spill the vegetables across a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and move the baking sheet into the oven. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, or until everything looks shrunken and roasty and the potatoes are cooked all the way through. (I usually shake the veg around in the pan once during cooking, just to prevent sticking.) When the vegetables are just done, remove them from the oven and splash them with the red wine vinegar. Turn off the oven.
Set your largest pan or griddle across the range, and turn the heat to medium. Distribute the butter onto one side of each slice of bread; arrange the bread slices in the pan, buttered side down. (If your pan it too small to fit eat slice flatly, do this in batches.) Distribute the Dijon across 2 slices of bread, and the sriracha across the remaining 2. On the Dijon slices, pile the grated cheddar. On the sriracha slices, smear the goat cheese. Wait until the cheeses are largely melted, and the buttered side of the bread is lightly toasted. (Adjust the heat if this is happening too quickly.)
When you are happy with the cheese’s meltiness, spoon the vegetable mix across the 2 goat cheese slices. Close the sandwich and allow everything to melt together, flipping the sandwiches once or twice in the pan, until the bread is golden brown and buttery-shimmering. Cut the grilled cheeses in half, and serve immediately.