Portobello Panino with Comice Pears, Arugula and Gorgonzola

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jennifer Jasinski, Rioja, Denver, CO


Yield: 24 servings


Basil Aioli
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups olive oil (same for roasting garlic and finishing the aioli)
1 ½ ounces (about 2 cups) chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar

Whole Wheat Panino Rolls
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup tepid water
3 pounds “00” double-zero or high-gluten flour
1 pound 14 ounces whole wheat flour
7 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 1/2 teaspoons honey
6 ¾ cups chilled water
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

24 Portobello mushrooms
12 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and  pepper
12 Comice pears
12 ounces fresh arugula
1 ½ pounds gorgonzola cheese
1 ½ cups basil aioli (recipe follows)
1 ½ pounds mixed greens
12 ounces balsamic vinegar
24 whole wheat panino rolls (recipe follows)



Basil Aioli
In a small pot, put the cold oil and garlic on medium heat until the garlic is golden brown. Strain the garlic from the oil and let the oil cool down. In a food processer, add the roasted garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and egg yolk and start to process. Add in the basil and process for 1 minute. Slowly stream in the cooled oil to emulsify. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Remove the aioli from the food processer with a rubber spatula and transfer to a small container. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups.

Whole Wheat Panino Rolls
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the tepid water and let it dissolve for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flours, salt, honey and yeast mixture on low speed, just to start incorporating the ingredients. Add the chilled water all at once and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. If there is still flour remaining in the bottom of the bowl, add a bit more water.

Continue mixing the dough on medium speed until it is soft, sticky and elastic, forms a ball and clings to the hook.

Add the oil and continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, firm, slightly sticky and very elastic. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place onto a clean cutting board covered with moist towels to prevent drying while portioning.

Portion the dough into 24 equal portions. Roll the pieces into tight, round, smooth dough balls. Place the balls 2 to 3 inches apart on a lightly oiled parchment-lined baking sheet and wrap with oiled plastic. Allow the dough to proof at room temperature for 2 hours, or until doubled.

Bake the panini rolls at 400 degrees until they are a deep golden brown color and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let them cool thoroughly before slicing.

To clean the mushrooms: Remove the gills with a spoon and clean all the mushrooms with a wet towel to remove the dirt.

Toss the portobello mushroom with the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly grill the mushrooms until tender. Slice ¼ inch thick. These may be grilled ahead and rewarmed or grilled to order.

Cut the pears in quarters lengthwise; core and slice 1/8 inch thick.

To assemble each sandwich, to order: Cut 1 bread round in half. Spread 1 tablespoon of basil aioli on the bread and layer it with about 1/2 sliced pear, ½ ounce fresh arugula, and 1 sliced warm mushroom. Cut the sandwich into 4 pieces, plate it, and serve with a side of 1 ounce mixed green tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.


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