The Perfect Panini

For me, there’s no sandwich better in the world than a rockin’ panini.  That savory, crisp exterior with a succulent, warm, gooey, cheesy inside beats a cold sandwich any day of the week.

We all strive to be able to reproduce that wonderful panini that we get at gourmet sandwich shops at home.   Well, it isn’t that difficult to do, and here is one recipe for a deliciously perfect panini that’s easy to make.

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This isn’t a crazy recipe.  It’s simply a delicious one that involves ingredients that are found on common panini you’d order at a shop.  Basically, chicken or turkey, cheese, tomato, greens, and a yummy sauce all on fresh bread.

Ingredients:

2 slices sourdough bread (or your favorite type)
1 slice provolone cheese (or your favorite melty type)
grape or roma tomatoes (enough to cover each sandwich)
handful of fresh baby arugula
red onion (optional)
1 tablespoon of basil pesto
3 tablespoon mayo
canola oil or butter for coating outside of bread

Directions:

There are a couple of things you could do ahead of time: roast the tomatoes and make the pesto mayo.  This way, you can quickly and easily make your sandwich each weekday without any hassle or extra time used.

To quick-roast the tomatoes, slice grape tomatoes in half lengthwise or slice the roma tomatoes widthwise. Lightly coat in canola oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast on a lined baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400° F.  You can store these in olive oil for the week or make just enough for the one sandwich.

For the pesto mayo, simply keep the ratio and make as much as you want to have on hand.  The above amount will last for several panini.  Of course, you can adjust the amount of pesto you put in the mayo to taste.  This spread gives the panini a special something!  You can even add fresh basil mixed in with the arugula if you have some.

Assemble the sandwich.  Spread pesto mayo on a slice of bread, place poultry on mayo, top with slice of cheese, add the tomatoes, onion if using, and arugula.  Arugula can be added after grilling panini if you prefer it not to get cooked at all (like I do).  Finish with other slice of bread and coat bottom of sandwich with a light layer of canola oil or butter.  Place on hot grill pan (I prefer cast iron) and grill until golden brown. If you have a grill press, place it on top of panini as it cooks.  Coat other side with oil or butter and flip to grill second side until golden brown. Slice in half and enjoy!

That’s it! I hope you enjoy the flavors!  Also, try using goat cheese for a change of pace.

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