Friday, May 9, 2008
IN PRAISE OF PANINI
I've always been a fan of sandwiches. Who can resist gooey grilled cheese with a side of tomato soup? And, I like to think I was ahead of the pack when it came to wraps. I was using flour tortillas to house my grilled veggies long before "real" wraps hit the markets. One of the first kitchen tools I purchased at Williams Sonoma was a sandwich maker that turned out shell-shaped toasted beauties. How I long for a gas stove! But it was love at first sight when the panini grill was invented. It took me 3 Christmas lists to finally score one, but I'm so glad it did because I got the Cadillac of panini grills, the Breville Ikon. This little beauty has pride of place on my counter, is a breeze to clean, and turns out one perfect panini after another in less time than it takes to assemble the ingredients. I've used many types of bread--potato rolls, Cuban rolls, whole wheat tortillas, whole grain bread--but my favorite by a mile is Arnold's Brick Oven WHITE sandwich bread. Yes, this health-conscious baby boomer has returned to white bread, if only for panini. It takes no great imagination to put together a good panini: bread, some type of spread, maybe some meat and/or veggie, and, of course, cheese, the primo ingredient. My two favorite concoctions so far are the Cubano panini and the chicken salad supreme. The recipes that follow are guidelines. Be creative!
2 slices Arnold's Brick Oven white sandwich bread
spicy brown mustard
sliced roast pork, Genoa salami,
Kosher dill pickle slices
Spread each slice of bread with mustard. On one slice layer the roast pork, salami, Swiss cheese, and pickles. Top with another slice of Swiss cheese and second slice of bread. Grill until cheese melts. (Great with a glass of Sangria)
CHICKEN SALAD SUPREME PANINI
4-5 oz poached chicken breast
2-3 Tbs. Craisins or dried cranberries
2-3 Tbs. sliced almonds
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 tsp onion powder
I like to put the chicken, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a food processor and chop finely. Mix with mayonnaise (I didn't give a measurement since I like it dry and most people like it creamy.) Then, I add the Craisins and almonds.
2 slices of bread
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 strips cooked bacon
On 1 slice of bread place a slice of cheddar, then chicken salad. Top with the bacon and second slice of cheese. Grill. This one is addictive!