You Say Panini May 19, 2009Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff.
I say panino. . .
Anyway, grammatical nitpicks aside, this is the Best Summertime Dinner. Ever. You can do whatever you want with it, within reason, of course, and it’s still delightful.
Several years ago, I subscribed to Cuisine At Home magazine and, ultimately, I ended up on their email list. (Actually, I’m on a lot of email lists. I’m not really sure how, but there you have it.)
So, where was I. Cuisine at Home. Yeah. A while back, they emailed me a recipe for “Italian Panini” that sounded . . . intriguing. So we ultimately decided to try it, and we liked loved it.
A nice grilled sandwich, some chips and a salad, what could possibly be better on a warm summer (or spring) evening?
First off, we cut the crusts off the top and bottom of a store-bought loaf of Italian bread. I thought about using a loaf of our homemade rosemary potato sourdough bread, but honestly, we didn’t want the wonderful rosemary flavor to go to waste.
Maybe next time we’ll use homemade bread – I think that would be so much better.
So once the top and bottom crusts are removed, we slice the entire loaf in half – what we essentially have is one gi-normous sandwich.
Layer one side of the bread with several slices of provolone – I think I actually used 5 slices here. Then spread with pesto mayonnaise.
Pesto mayonnaise = 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1 Tbsp. pesto. Normally, I’d use your basic basil pesto, but in this case, we had dug some garlic scape pesto out of the freezer, so that’s what we used. Hey, waste not want not, right?
Now we’re going to pile some cold cuts on the sandwich. We used salami (I prefer “hard” salami – it’s SO GOOD and whenever we have it in the house, I just nibble at it until it’s gone, so I never buy it!), some ham and some turkey. Both the ham and turkey are reasonably low-fat. Unlike the salami, which is Death On Bread. Which I love. I do love salami.
And now, the best part of all (besides the salami, of course).
The onion relish.OK, you know how when you go to your favorite sub shop, whatever that sub shop may be? They always have their special dressing – some kind of oil and vinegar combination that just makes the sandwich, you know?
OK, this is it. Or something like it, anyway.
You take a medium-ish red onion, and slice it very, very thin. We like to use a V-slicer – on the “thin” blade. To the onions, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
And that’s it. Just let the onions marinate for a few hours (or overnight, which is what we do), then spread the onion-y goodness over your cold cuts of choice, then top with some more provolone.
More cheese is always better, right?
Except that I, um, ran out of provolone slices and had to supplement with shredded Italian Blend cheese left over from Friday Night Pizza Night.
Not to worry – it’s all good.
Close with the top (or was that the bottom?) of the loaf of bread . . .
Squish (gently) and brush thoroughly with olive oil.
And to the grill we go.
Where we’ve lightly greased the grill grates, then preheated the grill to “low.” Place the sandwich on the grill, then weight it with . . . um, well, we used a cast iron griddle.
Hey, it’s HEAVY, and that’s EXACTLY what you want in a weight, right?
Your regular cast iron frying pan, or even a glass pie plate, weighted down, would work just as well. The original recipe suggests using baking potatoes.
We also happened to have a few clay tiles lying around, too (for baking pizza, but that’s another story), so we stuck a couple on top of the cast iron, for good measure, you know.
Hey, it’s a big sandwich, you know.
Then just close the grill and let the sandwich cook for about 5 minutes on low.Remove whatever weighting mechanism you end up using, carefully turn over the sandwich, and resume weighting and cooking. . . another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and both sides of the sandwich are lightly browned.
Though how you’re supposed to tell the sandwich is browned is beyond me – one side is under a cast iron griddle, and the other is, well, it’s on the bottom.
Just guess, I suppose.
Obviously, our grill is not heating evenly. We just bought it last fall, and we really haven’t gotten used to its peculiarities, I guess.
Still. Bring the sandwich in, place it on the cutting board, and cut into, well, slices are probably easiest.
Peeps followed the grill marks and sliced the panino into slices about an inch and a half wide.
The entire sandwich was more than enough for the two of us – besides dinner (and we were STARVING!), I had lunch for two days, too.
And yes, it did not suck cold, either.
But fresh off the grill, when the bread was still crispy, and the cheese was still melty, and the pesto mayonnaise was still oozy and we were starving anyway . . . just WOW. Best Summer Dinner Ever.