It’s time to stack. To layer, with a lazy supper/lunch/breakfast that’s low on fuss and big on impact. It might look a little piddly in the image – sorry about that – but that’s just because I couldn’t find any nice big Portobello mushrooms and had to settle for smallish field mushrooms instead. We’ll manage. It proves that looks aren’t everything. Salty, squeaky haloumi meets juicy grilled mushroom in this ‘open’ sarnie. There’s zesty pesto for added flair and creamy avocado because, well, avocado makes anything taste better. It’s a fact. And because we’re feeling a tad luxurious (it is the holiday season after all) we’re going to cut the crusts off the bread. Oh my.
Hold your horses though – don’t go and throw those crusts out. We can’t be letting them go to waste. There’s nothing wrong with them, whatsoever. Leave the crusts out to dry out for a day or two (we’re aiming for staleness), then chop them up into cubes for croutons or whizz up some fresh breadcrumbs. Christmas stuffing solution? I think so. Alternatively you could, you know, just dip them in the peanut butter jar. Not that I did that or anything. I have more self-restraint than that. I do. Mooooving on.
While we’re still on matters of bread, any type will do. Usually I’m impartial to textured, country style bread, but for this particular recipe I’m more inclined to go down the thin sandwich loaf path. It’s not a key player, merely a platform for all the other goodies. I tried to stay partly virtuous with rye, however the rest of the household decided to go the whole hog with white. It really doesn’t matter. Whatever floats your boat.
I still haven’t quite worked out how best to eat the thing. Is it a sandwich that requires hands? Or is it a ‘proper meal’ where a knife and fork are obligatory? In the end, I’ve settled for the latter. It kind of goes with the whole dainty ‘crusts- off’ phenomenon. It also makes me eat slower. This is important. You want to savour the textures – squeaky cheese, juicy mushroom, crispy bread and soft, oozing avocado. Hands, knife and fork, chopsticks, feet, whatever – get in there!
Mushroom, Haloumi & Avocado Stack with Pesto
Serves One (multiply as necessary).
1 large field or Portobello mushroom, wiped clean with a damp cloth and stalk removed
1 slice bread, crusts removed and trimmed down to roughly the same size as the mushroom
¼ avocado, thinly sliced
1 tbsp pesto – homemade is best!
1 slice (about 30g) haloumi cheese, preferably about the same dimensions as the mushroom, but not crucial
Plenty of freshly ground pepper and sea salt
Preheat grill to high. Brush mushroom with a little olive oil. Place on a piece of tinfoil, gills facing upwards and cook for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until tender and just starting to ooze juices.
Once you have flipped your mushroom over, toast your bread. You can do this either under the grill for a minute or two either side, or in your toaster.
Place a small frying pan over a high heat. When you can put your hand a few centimetres from the pan and feel the heat radiating off, pop your slice of haloumi in the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes either side or until starting to brown.
To assesmble: Spread the pesto over the bread, top with avocado slices, then the haloumi and place the mushroom on top as a ‘hat’. Season with copious amounts of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.