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You Say Panini May 19, 2009

Posted 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?

I’ve linked to the original recipe above, but this time around, we kind of, well, personalized the sandwich a bit.  We do that.  Photobucket

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.  Photobucket

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?

PhotobucketNow 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.PhotobucketOK, 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.

PhotobucketAnd 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.  Photobucket

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.PhotobucketRemove 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.Photobucket

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.



1. Mazco34 - May 19, 2009

Salami – mmmmmm!

When I was a kid I would cut salami into pieces that would fit on a cracker, then lay some pepper jack on top.

Into the toaster oven until the cheese melted. It was heaven to a teenager stuck at home.

I might stop at the deli on the way home.

Toy Lady - May 19, 2009

Yeah. Salami . . . and it is so full of bad stuff that it will kill you TO DEATH. 😦

But at least you’ll die happy. 😉

2. Melinda - May 19, 2009

yummy that looks so good. the next thing i am going to borrow from you, the teenager is visiting and he was thinking of all kinds of things to put in it when he gets back to SA
oh and the tuna went over big at my crop last Friday thanks for the recipe, my little guy was sick after ( no not the tuna he has just been really ill the main reason i have just been lurking, so many comments i have wanted to make the big one HOW WAS THE MOVIE???? James and i are going hopefully Friday) and my friends were giving me a hard time but 2 of them walked out of here with the recipe so thank you very much ( oh by the way my rule is after you have told some one 3 times where you got the page map craft idea or recipe where it really came from its yours the 4th time you know like ” oh why thank you it is just a little something i came up with lol )

Toy Lady - May 20, 2009

Melinda, hi! I’m sure you could try all sorts of variations on the panini theme – it’s good thing you’ve got a few boys to help experiment! 😉

I’m so glad you enjoyed the tuna recipe – we are SO doing that again too! And hey, you are more than welcome to file the serial numbers off and call it your own! 😉

3. anne - May 19, 2009

Trust me, that sandwich makes a vegetarian weep. I bet it would be really good with corned beef! 🙂

Toy Lady - May 20, 2009

You know, Anne, I’ll bet you’re right! Maybe use a rye boule, a smear of whole grain mustard, loads of Swiss cheese. . . hmmm. . . .or maybe, say, something, um, reuben-esque? 😆

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