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Camembert and Comté with Mushrooms

Camembert and Comté with Mushrooms

Never heard of Comté? Now’s your time to discover it. A little like roasted peanuts, butterscotch, or maybe fruity if it’s younger, it’s an amazing cheese. Melts perfectly too. Can’t find it? Gruyère or even plain old Swiss cheese makes a fine substitute

Fall is upon us, so gather up some mushrooms, pile them with grated cheese, fire up the pan or sandwich maker, break out a bottle of pinot noir and you’ve got the ultimate comfort meal.

4 tablespoons butter (half-stick) divided, at room temperature
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ pound mushrooms, stems removed and sliced ¼-inch thick
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar (or use red wine vinegar)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces Camembert, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
8 ounces Comté cheese (or use Gruyére, Swiss, or Fontina), coarsely grated
1 baguette, cut crosswise into 4 6-inch wide pieces

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook just until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the vinegar. Cook until almost all of the vinegar has boiled away and the mushrooms have begun to caramelize around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Stir once or twice and remove from the heat. Transfer the mushrooms onto a plate and set aside. Wipe the pan with a paper towel but do not wash it.

To assemble: Melt the remaining butter in a small pan or in a microwave. Cut each baguette piece in half lengthwise. Pinch out a small amount of the soft center of each piece of bread to create a well. Place the baguette pieces crust side up on your work surface and spread with butter. Turn the bottom (flat) pieces crust side down on your work surface. Distribute the mushroom mixture on the bread followed by the Camembert. Top with the Comté. Place the remaining baguette pieces, crust side up.

For stovetop method: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the pan, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until evenly browned. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one very firmly with a spatula to compress the bread and filling. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Turn the sandwiches once more, press firmly with the spatula again, cook for 1 minute or until the cheese has completely melted. (You might need to peek inside to make sure). Remove from the pan and let cool 2 to 3 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

For sandwich maker method: Preheat the sandwich maker. Follow directions for assembly above. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

For outdoor grill method: Brush the grill rack with oil and preheat to medium-high. Follow directions for stovetop method.