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Smoked Portobello and Horseradish Panini

Many, myself included, think of panini as just a grilled sandwich with a golden to dark brown color and those perfect little lines across the bread. But grilling isn’t necessarily a panini requirement, and you can serve them minus the marks—but I don’t know why you’d want to do a thing like that. My favorite part of a panini is the crispy bread and the cute lines.

I also love being able to choose a variety of fillings that are forced to be pressed together into one compact little sandwich. After watching last week’s Top Chef and seeing that both teams made some sort of beef dish with a horseradish sauce, I decided I needed to play off those flavors to create my own (vegan) panini.

The meatiness of portobello mushrooms was naturally my first choice, and to add even more flavor I sautéed the strips in a dash of liquid smoke and olive oil. The creaminess—and kick!—of the horseradish sauce was the perfect complement to all the veggies.

Smoked Portobello and Horseradish Panini

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 medium portobello mushroom caps, sliced
Dash liquid smoke
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices of bread
Horseradish sauce (recipe below)
1 roasted red pepper, sliced (jarred or prepared at home)

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes, until lightly caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add a dash of liquid smoke and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  • Heat a panini press according to the manufacturer’s instructions until hot, or heat a panini pan over moderate heat.
  • Brush the slices of bread on 1 side with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and then lay, oiled side down, on a work surface. Divide the horseradish sauce among the 4 slices and top with the onions, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers. Put 2 of the slices together and then the other 2 together, making 2 sandwiches.
  • Put the sandwiches on the press and close. Cook until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. If using a panini pan, place the weight on top of the sandwiches and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Horseradish Sauce

1/4 cup Vegenaise
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until blended.

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