The Panini Method

by Heather on September 27, 2010

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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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