Serves: Makes 12 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more softened butter for bread
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¾ pound mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 16 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or marjoram
Procedures:Few comfort foods satisfy like grilled cheese sandwiches. I particularly like this variation, pairing the smooth tang of mozzarella cheese and the earthy richness of sautéed mushrooms, a combination that’s hard to resist. I can guarantee that a tray of these will disappear as quickly as you make them.
Mozzarella comes in a number of forms. I prefer fresh mozzarella that’s sold in tubs of brine. It has a softer, less stringy texture than the firmer, dryer mozzarella commonly used on pizzas—both types will work, just with different results. For the bread, choose a loaf with relatively square slices.
This is a great time to use a griddle pan that sits over two burners, which allows you to cook four sandwiches at once. Otherwise, use two large skillets at the same time.
Melt the butter with the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with the salt and pepper, and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are tender and the liquid they give off has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
Set 8 of the bread slices on the work surface and top with half of the mozzarella slices in layers as even as you can manage. Arrange the sautéed mushrooms evenly over the cheese and sprinkle with the oregano. Top with the remaining mozzarella and finish with the remaining bread slices. Spread a thin layer of softened butter on the top of each sandwich.
Preheat a griddle or 2 large heavy skillets over medium heat. Add the sandwiches buttered side down and cook for 2 minutes, or until nicely browned. While the sandwiches cook, butter the top slices of bread. Flip the sandwiches and cook for 2 minutes longer, until well browned and the cheese is melted.
Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut each into 3 strips. Transfer to individual plates or a platter to serve hot.