The Panini Method

by Heather on September 27, 2010

Heather is on Faces of Beauty today! (Not me Heather, another Heather) Come say hi!

Please vote for me on the Next Food Blog Star!  Just click here :)

My life is awesome.  There’s not a thing I would change about it.  Except maybe adding a beach across the street from our house.

What do you think?

But the past 2 months of Sunday nights have been completely slammed with things to do.  It always involves spending time with friends, but to be honest I really just needed a break before starting the work week again.  Last night was the first time in a long time that Nate and I were able to sit down and relax before going to bed, and it was just what I needed to unwind.  When I called him from the store to see what he wanted to eat for dinner I was met with the response, “Just a good sandwich would be nice!”  It’s rare that we ever are on the exact same page as far as dinner suggestions go, but I couldn’t have agreed more!

First things first you have to assemble the ingredients:

  • Organic Girl baby arugula
  • Oscar Mayer roast chicken
  • Classico sun-dried tomato pesto
  • provolone
  • ciabatta roll
  • leftover grilled onions and peppers (unpictured)

Now you can use whatever ingredients float your boat.  This is just what sounded good to me last night but today I would probably choose to do a chipotle sauce and cheddar cheese for a more Southwestern feel.  Really, whatever you want will work!

I always like to slice the bread down the middle…

…and then flip it over so that you’re making the sandwich on the crust of the bread.  I don’t remember where I first saw to do this, but it makes for a much prettier presentation when it’s all said and done with!  Brush the cut side lightly with olive oil (~1/2 Tbsp total).  Spread whatever spread (if you’re using a spread) on the crust of the bread.

Top with whatever cheese you might be using.

I added a huge handful of arugula, probably the equivalent of 1-1.5 cups.  Clearly I love me some arugula.

The onions and peppers made their home on the other side.

Here’s the trick:  since you’re making the inside of the sandwich on an uneven surface, it’s kind of hard to get it to stay perfectly together.  IT’S OK.  Don’t freak out.  I can say that because I did the first time I ever made a panino like this.

Don’t freak out.

Just smush (yes that’s a word) it all together and hope for the best.  It’ll all stay in eventually but you have to press it first.

Another tricky thing:  pressing a sandwich when you don’t have a sandwich press.  But look on the bright side:  this forces you to be creative.  Why do the Rachel Ray method of another pan weighed down with bricks or cans of soup when you can just fill a water pot with water and try to balance it on top?

Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side over medium-low heat until golden brown and then flip.  Repeat.  When it’s done the outside will be golden and crusty and the inside will be gooey and melty.  You might die of happiness, and for that I take zero responsibility.

For the dying part that is.

We enjoyed ours with roasted asparagus and a scoop of boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, and then sat back and watched football games, 30 Rock (probably one of my favorites so far – Matt Damon is hysterical!), and The Office.  Perfect Sunday night, don’t you think?!

***Today marks the start of voting for the next round of Project Food Blog! Remember, if you’re a member of Foodbuzz you have 200 votes…I’d love it if one of those votes was for me :)  Also, if you’re in the competition please leave your link in the comments section so I can vote for you too :) ***

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alicia September 27, 2010

Yum!! That looks great!

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2 Kim in MD September 27, 2010

I love panini…yours looks incredible! One word-lunch! :-)

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3 RhodeyGirl September 27, 2010

That looks INCREDIBLE!

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4 Anna September 27, 2010

I’ve never seen a panini made on the “bread” side before– great idea!!

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5 Tina September 27, 2010

Hey! Your post came through in my reader earlier again today. :D

And we’re having sandwiches for dinner tomorrow night. I think I’m going to start having a sandwich night because its so simple and always so delicious. And can make a perfectly balanced meal.

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6 Matt September 27, 2010

My sandwiches HAVE to be HOT. Panini’s = <3

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7 Tabitha (From Single to Married) September 27, 2010

Very creative indeed!

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8 Jessica @ How Sweet September 27, 2010

Will you please come make me this for lunch?! Thank you.

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9 couchpotatoathlete September 27, 2010

That panini looks so amazing Heather! That crusty, buttery top must taste so good :)

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10 Salah September 27, 2010

Paninis make my heart happy :-)

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11 G @ nutritious foodie September 27, 2010

wow the panini looks really good.

If have got my vote my friend. Here is a link to my post so you can see my classic creation :)
http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/703

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12 Kara @ MyWellnest September 27, 2010

I’ve been in such a sandwich funk lately, I need to make a panini!!! How clever to use your water pot!
Will definitely vote for you!!!

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13 Taylor September 27, 2010

I love making paninis! I need to buy a tea pot to make paninis…the last time I tried making a panini I topped it with a bottle of olive oil inside of a coffee cup…I turned around for 5 seconds, it slid off and the olive oil bottle broke all over my kitchen floor. That was NOT fun to clean up!

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14 Marg September 27, 2010

I was just at the store and bought normal pesto, now I’m wishing I would have bought the sun-dried tomato. This looks so good!

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15 Joslyn @ missfitbliss September 27, 2010

I’m totally filing this one away for my boyfriend. I have a feeling I’ll need to thank you profusely for sharing this one with me;) So perfect for chilly weather too!

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16 Estela @ Weekly Bite September 27, 2010

Love your panini method! Goes to show you don’t need a fancy panini press ;)

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17 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) September 27, 2010

oh yum!! I haven’t made paninis in forever… they’re so yummy!

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18 Suzy September 27, 2010

‘smush’ is totally a word! I use it all the time! That panini looks great!

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19 Angela @ Life given September 27, 2010

You know what I love about ciabatta bread; the little pockets it has to soak up all the yummy fillings. But I love the way yours looks toasted on the other side:)

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20 Sarah September 27, 2010

Yum, that looks delicious. Thanks for the how-to and tips:).

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21 LiveForTheRun September 27, 2010

I think you’re on to something with the ciabatta roll. I press my luck with other wraps, but I think the bread makes the diff.

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22 glutenfreemuse September 27, 2010

Ciabatta rolls crack me up :-)

Hubby and I were on our honeymoon and he politely asked the waiter if they had any GF options instead of bread. The waiter said, “Oh, of course! We deal with this all the time!” I was of course incredulous. Next thing I know, the manager comes up from behind me, reaches around me and slides a basket of bread across the table, uttering these words, “Ciabatta rolls.” I stared at Hubby and tried to keep from laughing. Next thing we know, the waiter comes running across the room screaming, “DON’T EAT THOSE!!!”

It was awesome…I should have faked a seizure :-)

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23 Heather September 27, 2010

oh my gosh, great story!

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24 Lauren September 27, 2010

So I never thought to turn one of the bread slices inside out to achieve the perfect grill marks! How clever!

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25 Maren September 27, 2010

I love good sandwiches. Yours looks amazing. I would never have gone outside the box enough to make my sandwich on the crust part of the bread!

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26 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite September 27, 2010

This looks so delicious! I love paninis but am always disappointed with them when I purchase from my local bodega. Can’t wait to try it this way. Oh, and ciabatta is basically the best thing ever!

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27 Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice September 27, 2010

I love paninis! The sun-dried tomato pesto sounds incredible in it.

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28 Natalia - a side of simple September 27, 2010

What a perfect Sunday meal! And Heather, I definitely think you should coin the word panino. For sure. ;)

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29 Mary September 27, 2010

Okay, that looks delicious! Wow! I think this is now on the meal plan for the week! :-)

Great blog; so happy I found you!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

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30 arsenalfamily September 27, 2010

That looks so super tasty! And can I just say that the tip about inside out is fabulous!

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31 Lisa September 27, 2010

That looks so delicious. I definitely voted for you.

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32 Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 27, 2010

Looks so good!!! I swear any sandwich is better as a panini. I don’t care what type it is-it would be better panini-ed :D

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33 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) September 28, 2010

organic girl? i have never heard of that. marketing fresh greens only to women?? haha. that’s funny. this looks amazing and I hope you are totally ROCKING project food blog! voted!

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34 Sarah September 28, 2010

I’ve been obsessed with my panini press lately, it’s a weekend staple!!

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