Monday, March 15, 2010

Favourite Sandwich

At our house we love PANINIS!

I was making them before you could buy panini presses everywhere. I used a George Forman grill until I found (at a thrift store for $4.oo) this "General Electric Contact Grill". There are 2 main differences in this (or George
Forman) grill and a panini grill. A panini grill is at a straight horizontal level and an adjustable cover that lowers down to press. It also has (usually) a bigger surface. My grill cooks only 1 at a time. The angle on mine is level horizontal (Some major angle down.), but my top is hinged at the back and folds down. I can live with that. You will be much happier if you have grills that can be removed for washing.

It is hard to write a recipe for paninis. Use what you like. Start with the bread. I buy a decent hoagie roll. Decide on meats, cheeses and vegetables. Think about sauces and herbs. I'll start with this one.

For this panini I split a hoagie roll in 1/2 length wise. Because I am grill this I turn my roll inside out and using a silicone basting brush, brush the 2 outer sides (formerly insides) with olive oil. (You can also use melted butter.) I like to sprinkle dried herbs (basil, oregano) or garlic powder on mine.

Next I build the sandwich. I always put cheese on the top and bottom (first and last). This glues the sandwich. For this sandwich I used fresh mozzarella cheese. I added slices of fresh tomatoes and then a strip of bottled pesto down the centre. I added left over rotisserie chicken next. More cheese and then the top bread. You don't want to put too much sauce on the sandwich. Then I put it on the well heated grill.

To keep my sandwich from slipping apart as it grills, I use one finger to hold the part of the sandwich in place as I set the lid down on the panini. It will close on it's own as it cooks, leaving you with a perfect panini.

If the grill is hot, it takes 4-6 mins. on my grill.

Then, I serve a sauce at the side for dipping. (You don't use a lot of sauce on the sandwich so it will hold it's shape.) For this Chicken Basil Panini I serve 2 sauces. One is a basic marinara, and the other is the basil pizza sauce (from Melanie Q.). (1/2 cup prepared pesto + 1/2 cup light sour cream) You could also add pesto to mayonnaise if you prefer a heavier dip.

The great thing about paninis is that you can use any meat or cheese. Left over roast or chicken..., but one of my favourite dipping sauces is a mix of low fat mayo and Brianna's Chipotle Cheddar dressing. mmmm I serve the dips in a small serving dish with a spoon, like dip.

During the winter serve this with a soup. For summer, try a salad.

Just a note. If you don't like or have not used pesto, try it a new way. It has an amazing full flavour, but plays well with others. I will share a few more pesto recipes this week.


Emily said...

I love paninis!

Leslie said...

I love paninis too, but without the pesto.

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