Counter NYC -Inspired Farmhouse Panini

When I lived in New York, I often would enjoy Sunday brunch at Counter, a vegetarian bistro in the East Village. My favorite thing on the menu was the Farmhouse Panini served on fresh, toasty ciabatta. Though I’d be perfectly satisfied eating the bread alone, the Farmhouse Panini is importantly filled with a walnut-lentil pate and rosemary aioli. They also include a little arugula in a lemony vinaigrette, both in the panini and on the side, which adds a little kick of freshness to the super savory sandwich.

Alas, I now find myself 200 miles away from New York City and without so much as a photograph of Counter’s delicious sandwich. Not to worry; I decided it’s high time I try to recreate it at home and, to my genuine surprise, I think I came pretty close to the original. Below, I describe how I made the pate, aioli, and salad. You can make each component ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your sandwich.


Walnut-Lentil Pate:

1 cup cooked brown lentils (about 1/2 cup dry)

1/2 of a white onion, chopped

1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs cognac (many liquor stores sell small bottles for just a few dollars)

salt and pepper, to taste

To cook the lentils, fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the dry lentils and reduce to a simmer. Keep simmering for about 20 minutes until the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and drain.

Saute the chopped onion and mushrooms in a pan with the olive oil until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have browned. Remove from heat.

Place the lentils, onion, mushrooms, and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is chopped very finely but not a smooth puree. Add the cognac, lemon, salt, and pepper and pulse just enough to combine.


Rosemary Aioli:

1/2 cup Vegenaise

1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 cloves roasted garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard

pinch of course salt (optional)

If you have a mortar and pestal, strip the sprig of rosemary into it and grind the leaves until they are a smooth paste. If you add a pinch of coarse salt, it will help to grind the rosemary because it’s abrasive.

(If you don’t have a mortar and pestal, you could just chop the little leaves, but your aioli won’t be as smooth.)

To roast the garlic, I drizzled it with a little olive oil and put it in the toaster oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees. When it starts to get brown and soft, it’s done.

Mash the roasted garlic. I added it to the rosemary and mashed them together.

Add the rosemary/garlic paste and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the veganaise and mix until well combined.


Arugula Salad:


¼ cup olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon. Spoon it over the arugula and toss.


Assembling the Sandwich:

Lightly grill both sides of your bread in a large pan with a small pat of Earth Balance.

Spread the pate on one half of the bread and the rosemary aioli on the other. You will probably want a thicker layer of pate than of aioli. Press the two halves of your sandwich together with a layer of arugula in between. Enjoy!


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