I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big sandwich person – at home. Ham, cheese, mayo, bread – yawn……. But make it a panini and suddenly I’m all about the possibilities !
The word panini is actually italian for little breads – and this is a good point to make. Paninis not have to be 2 inches tall – like something from the Carnegie Deli – in fact, how would you press something so thick without everything spilling out the sides – so a few select flavorful ingredients are best here. When I visited Italy several years ago,their paninis were much thinner sandwiches, than their american counterparts (perhaps a lesson here?), and they weren’t always toasted, but here in the states the term panini has come to mean a specifically toasted , pressed sandwich.
It seems to me that there are a few basics regarding paninis:
- Have fun — use a ‘fun’ bread – cuban bread, pumpernickel, focaccia, onion roll, but not too thick, to aid pressing
- Think out of the box – Use some kind of relish, sauce, preserve, sweet with savory
- Use cheese – again, be imaginative- no american slices here, go for full bodied tastes.
I imagine I’ll be making more paninis because I finally invested in a Cuisinart Griddler. I’ve wanted one for a while because it’s a multi function appliance. (My kitchen its too small for one use gadgets) The Griddler can be a grill, a griddle and more importantly for this post – a Panini maker. Dont’ worry if you dont’ have one, just use a fry pan and something heavy, like a cast iron saucepan (or even a foil covered brick) to weigh down the sandwich.
Today’s combination comes from a chicken dish that I love – Chicken breast rolled with prosciutto , cheese and basil cooked in a little sherry and chicken broth. I’m sure I’ll be coming up with all sorts of different combinations, as I break in my new toy…. What are your favorite panini combinations? I’d love to hear about them!
Spring Chicken Panini (1 serving)
- 1 ciabatta roll cut in half , horizontally
- 1 Tblsp prepared pesto
- 1/2 chicken breast, cooked, thinly sliced
- 1 slice of prosciutto
- 1 slice of fontina cheese
- Spray the panini maker with cooking spray and heat it up to high heat.
- Spread the pesto on the bottom half of the roll.
- Layer the bottom half with chicken slices, prosciutto, and cheese.
- Top with the other half of the roll. Place the ‘sandwich’ on the panini maker and close, pressing he sandwich.
- Heat through, until the cheese is melted.
- Slice in half and serve.