Monday, September 22, 2014

B.O.M. Melts

Toronto was so much fun! I'll be sharing the experience over on my travel blog, if you're interested. Nothing is posted just yet because hello, I just got back yesterday evening and I haven't even downloaded the photos yet. But I pinky-promise I'll have some entries up soon.

Now that it autumn is officially here and it's getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, I'd say comfort food season is also officially here. One of the biggest components of comfort food - at least the type of comfort food that I like to enjoy - is melty cheese. So, I'm sharing a mushroom melt today. I wanted to give it a slightly more creative name so I went with "B.O.M. melt" where the 'B' stands for bacon, the 'O' stands for onion, and the 'M' stands for mushroom because those are the three main ingredients (besides the cheese). It's a cute and cheesy name, right? Har-har. Though, actually, I used salt pork so would it be a SPOM melt? BOM is cuter.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
½ Italian loaf (or whatever bread you prefer)
½ package mushrooms (baby bella, oyster, button, morel, wild, or a mixture)
½ oz. salt pork or 1 slice bacon, chopped
¼ onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon parsley, minced
½ cup grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, havarti, something good and melty)
black pepper

Start with the salt pork (or bacon) in a cold skillet. Turn up the heat to low to render the fat from the pork. If you've got really good, fatty pork, it'll release lots of deliciousness and you won't need any extra oil. If your pork hasn't given off much fat, you might want to add just a little oil to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium high and toss in the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook long enough to allow the ingredients to become softened. The mushrooms will likely give off a bit of water (because of the salt in the pork) so you'll want to let the pan sit until the liquid is cooked off.

Once the liquid has evaporated, add in a knob of butter and keep cooking until browned. If you skip this browning step, you'll end up with mushrooms that have a slightly slimy and chewy texture. If you prefer slimy mushrooms, then by all means, skip the browning. But if you are normal and you're not into slimy foods, then please, brown the mushrooms, despite the drool waterfall cascading out of your mouth. You'll be pleased with your patience once it's time to eat.
Grab your pepper mill and season generously with black pepper and that's it! The mushrooms are done. The pork is plenty salty so you really don't need any added salt. Plus, we're topping this mess with cheese.

Grab the bread and slice it open. Spread generously with butter (about 1 tablespoon on each side) and then pop the bread in the broiler to get it warmed through and toasted. You can totally be toasting the bread while the mushrooms are going, that is, if you're a risk taker. I tend to forget about the bread and end up with burnt charcoal. It only takes a hot minute or two to get the bread warmed through so I do this once the mushrooms are ready. It's just a little insurance policy. I don't know how many times I've wasted perfectly awesome bread by burning it.
Pile the mushrooms onto the bread and sprinkle with some fresh parsley for a little color and brightness. Top with a generous amount of grated cheese and then pop the pan into the broiler again to get the cheese super gooey and melty.
Cut the melts into pieces and dig in! The mushrooms are so yummy and earthy and flavorful, thanks to the salt pork, and the cheese is ooey and gooey and perfect. And of course, it's all sitting on a lovely buttery piece of toasty bread. It's delicious, it's filling, it's a perfect Saturday lunch. Plus, it's gorgeous, isn't it? You could totally whip something like this up for brunch or for unexpected guests.
If you were unsure of whether or not you should make this melt, I think this stringy cheese GIF will change your mind. And if it doesn't, you have no soul! Or maybe you despise cheese. Either way, you can't sit here!
Here's the recipe page:

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