Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Panini 101 - Make the perfect Panini! No Special Equipment needed!

 You can use this basic recipe to make homemade Panini's that are as good as any fancy sandwich shop or restaurant.  I used fresh Mozzarella, Pesto and Roasted Red Peppers for a Caprese style Panini.  

 I substituted  Roasted Red Peppers instead of traditional tomato because I think it adds a lot more flavor and tomato's can make  your sammie mushy.  If you use tomatoes, be sure to deseed or chop in pieces before grilling.

This is more of a technique than a recipe.  You don't need a fancy Panini press to make these.  All you need is a non-stick grill pan, a heavy pan to weight it down. (like cast iron or even a dutch oven will work) and a piece of foil. 

Bread - oh so important when making the perfect Panini.  I have tried several, but my favorite is sourdough.  It is crunchy, but soft enough to eat. The grill marks show up nicely too.  Some of the Artesional breads like are so tough that you can't get through the bread to get to the ooey gooey center!  Sandwich frustration!

A few variations
Southwestern:  sliced chicken, grilled onions and peppers, pepper jack cheese
Ham and Swiss: ummm, well, Ham and Swiss
Burgers: Grilled Burger, Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Gouda
Egg and Prociutto: Fried egg, Prociutto and Pesto

The combinations are endless...just put your favorite sammie ingredients between two slices of buttered bread, grill, press and you are a sandwich hero!

Ingredients for Caprese style

Fresh mozzarella
Pesto (buy the good stuff, it will make or break a Caprese sandwich)
Roasted Red Peppers or chopped, de-seeded tomato
Sourdough bread
Olive oil

Oh and check out my re-purpose of a rarely used kitchen item.  Egg slicer to slice the soft mozzerella!


Butter outside of two slices of bread.
Add ingredients to inside of bread and put together, buttered side bread up.

Heat grill pan to medium high heat.
Brush with Olive Oil

Add sandwich.  Top with foil and heavy pan. 

Flip and repeat until  you have those lovely grill marks chararteristic of a perfect panini and all the cheese is melted and lovely!


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