Red spinach may be difficult to fins, but keep your eyes open at your local farmers market. It has a sweet nutty flavor that is quite distinct from green spinach. However, this grilled goat cheese sandwich would be just as good with green spinach.
You may substitute baby green spinach for red, but it will not be nearly as sweet. You may want to increase the amount of honey in the goat cheese walnut spread by about 1 teaspoon.
- 6 ounce walnut halves
- 6 ounce crumbled goat cheese (at room temperature)
- ¼ teaspoon minced rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon medium shallots (peeled and sliced thinly)
- 10-12 thin slices of prosciutto
- 4 slice rustic bread
- 1 bunch red spinach (rinsed very well and dried )
Make Goat Cheese Walnut Spread
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven 8-10 minutes until fragrant.
Choose 12 of the nicest looking walnuts and set them aside. Using a mini food processor or mortar and pestle grind the remaining walnuts until well ground. It should resemble finely ground coffee. Do not over grind them as they will become pasty.
In a small bowl add the ground walnuts, goat cheese, rosemary leaves and honey and mix them together very well. Set aside.
Make the Sandwiches
Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. Add shallots to the pan and, stirring often, cook them until golden brown. Approx. 15-20 minutes. Do not be tempted to turn up the heat and speed the process along. They will fry and not caramelize properly.
Remove shallots from butter ( leave the butter in the pan) and set them to the side on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Roughly chop the spinach stems and all. Turn up the heat to medium and add the remaining butter and the spinach with a pinch of salt. Quickly wilt the spinach for 1 or 2 minutes then remove from heat. Add the shallots to the spinach and mix well.
Lay the prosciutto slices on two pieces of bread 5-6 slices each. Then divide the shallot and spinach mixture onto each prosciutto lined slice of bread. Spread it around in an even layer. The prosciutto slices will act as a barrier to protect the bread from the moisture in the spinach mixture.
Spread the prepared Goat Cheese Walnut spread on two other slices of bread. Then sprinkle the reserved whole walnuts evenly across the goat cheese mixture.
Lay the goat cheese covered bread slices over each of the prosciutto/spinach covered slices. All ingredients on the inside.
Butter both side of the sandwiches and grill them over medium heat (or use a panini press) until the sandwiches are nicely toasted and heated all the way through. Serve warm.