I remember my first Panini. It was a food sample at my local storeís deli. The list of filling ingredients is lost in time, but that fabulous crunchy bread will stay with me forever. What if you donít have a Panini press? Donít worry, you can still grill and press with the best of them!
Start with best-quality, intensely flavorful ingredients. You want your fillings to be relatively thin, but bursting with taste. The bread should have a tight crumb that browns well. If you are slicing it, slice diagonally for that oval Panini look. Make sure that you don't slice it too thick. I used DiLusso meats and cheese since, the DiLusso company makes tasty foods that have a lot of flavor. I dressed the sandwich with fresh basil and spinach leaves to enhance the Panini. Make sure that your olive oil is extra virgin. When your sandwich is assembled, you are ready to grill.
Many folks of my generation have iron skillets. If you donít have a Panini press, just make those iron skillets do double duty! Use a large one, I use the 8 inch skillet, as the bottom of the press. Use a smaller one as the top of your press. Read on to find out how to do this.
Panini Without a Press Recipe
Makes one large sandwich
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used Kirkland brand.)
2 pieces sourdough bread
1 slice baby Swiss cheese (Use thin, deli-sliced cheese. You need enough to cover the bread.)
Fresh basil leave to cover the cheese-one leaf thick
Fresh spinach leaves to cover the basil-one leaf thick
DiLusso Peppered Turkey to cover the spinach- two slices thick
DiLusso Genoa Salami to cover the turkey- two slices thick
Keep potholders available to grip the hot handles on the skillets.
Pour the olive oil into the larger skillet. Dip one side of each of the pieces of bread in olive oil until all of the oil has been soaked up by the bread.
Use skillets that will nest together. You may use any size that works. I used an 8Ē cast iron skillet for the bottom skillet part of the press and a 6Ē cast iron skillet as the top of the press. Heat the smaller skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.
In the larger skillet, assemble the sandwich while the smaller skillet is heating. Lay both pieces of bread, oiled side down, in the larger skillet. Place the cheese on the bottom piece. Add a layer of basil leaves, then place the spinach on top of the basil. Lay a double thickness of turkey on the spinach. Then, place salami on the turkey. Finally, crown the salami with the upper piece of bread.
Turn the heat to medium under the bottom skillet. Take the heated, smaller top skillet and place it on top of the sandwich. Add a weight. This could be a tea kettle that is filled about one-quarter full. Grill the sandwich for about 3 minutes or until it is browned.
Carefully remove the top skillet. The bread might stick. Have a spatula ready to gently pry the bread away from the top skillet. If this happens, just put the sandwich back together. Flip the sandwich over to the other side, and let it rest in the pan for about one minute.
If you donít want to take the trouble to press the sandwich, you can just grill it. That also makes a lovely sandwich. Use your favorite meats, cheeses, and condiments to make a glorious sandwich that suits your personal tastes.
Serve your sandwich with a great side dish or soup. Include your favorite fruit. Make it a sandwich meal! Use your creativity to produce a meal that you can truly enjoy.
After you have enjoyed your sandwich meal, come to the BellaOnline Sandwiches Forum and tell us about it. We would love to hear about your sandwich adventures!
When I mention products by brand name, these are the ones that I use. I have not received free products from the manufacturers, nor have I been paid to mention the products by name.