I recently visited Fresco Bistro with colleagues for a holiday lunch and had their open-faced mushroom melt consisting of leeks, baby spinach, portobello, cremini and oyster mushrooms, goat cheese and truffle oil. I rarely go to Italian restaurants, but do enjoy Fresco’s food from time to time and love that it always has a vegetarian option. My only complaint is that the portions seem to be getting smaller…
I’ll admit, I selected this option because it was the only vegetarian sandwich on the menu. I was excited because it is very common for Italians to feature cooked leafy greens in sandwiches, but have to admit that I had my doubts about how exciting this sandwich would actually be. I was pleasantly surprised. The sandwich was delicious, perfectly seasoned and my only complaint was that the portion was modest leaving me wanting more. The upside was that it left room for tiramisu!
So, here it is on my menu plan for the week for two reasons: I had 2 bunches of kale in my fridge from my veggie box delivery and because I couldn’t stop thinking about the flavour combinations.
My husband was not pleased when I forgot to defrost his meat inclusion for this sandwich, but surely went back for the second half… 🙂
Where do I begin with this sandwich other than to say it leaves you wanting more in spite of the fact that it is extremely filling. Mushrooms, kale, and gruyere are robust flavours that stand up to each other, but also work very well together. I am always looking for new ways to eat Kale and apart from Kale chips, which is my absolute favourite way to enjoy Kale, this is a close second. As tempting as it may be, be sure not to overload on the gruyere. I used it sparingly as a binder, to boost the protein content, but mostly as a flavour enhancer and coupled with the little hint of truffle-infused oil, this sandwich is pretty incredible.
Sandwiches have always been a challenge for me, as a vegetarian, but this one is big and bold and it rivals most traditional options. Thank you Fresco Bistro for the thought and consideration you give to creating your vegan/vegetarian options. The restaurant scene, though not fully there, is improving for us vegees. As much as I enjoyed my sandwich at the Bistro, I do prefer it with the kale and gruyere.
Serves 4 (with a side salad or 2 hungry people)
|Olive oil||4-6 tbsp|
|Mushrooms, oyster/cremini/king, sliced||2 lb|
|Garlic, cloves, minced||4|
|Rosemary, fresh, chopped||1 tbsp|
|Kale, Dino/cavolo nero (not curly)||2 bunches|
|Gruyere, shredded||150 g|
|Truffle-infused olive oil||4 tbsp|
1. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat olive oil.
2. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release their juices and most of the juices are evaporated.
3. Add leeks, garlic, rosemary, salt and black pepper and continue to cook until mushrooms and leeks are caramelized, approximately 10-15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, season with salt and add kale. Reduce to a rolling simmer and cook for 4 minutes or so until the kale is cooked. Strain the kale and allow to cool. Once cooled, press out any excess water. Chop kale with a knife and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut baguette into 3 pieces diagonally. Slice 2 pieces in half lengthwise. Reserve third slice for another day. Toast baguette for 5-10 minutes until you reach desired crispness. Remove from oven and drizzle a spoon full of truffle-infused olive oil on each half slice of toasted baguette.
6. To assemble, divide the kale into 4 and top each toasted baguette with the kale. Place a little bit of the grated cheese on top of the kale. Follow with a good serving of the caramelized mushrooms. Finish with another sprinkle of cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Place sandwich halves on a baking sheet in an oven preheated at 375 degrees until cheese is melted, approximately 2-4 minutes.