PROVO, February 17, 2014—Have you run out of ideas for supper? Does going to a restaurant feel like too much effort? A hot panini sandwich with a green salad is the way to break out of suppertime stagnation. With a quick rummage through the fridge, or a trip to the grocery store, you can churn out sandwiches that look as if they came from the bistro across town in mere minutes.
Panini makers come in a wide range of prices from a variety of makers. They have various toasting settings, some come with removable grill plates while others do not. All of them smash sandwiches to toasty grilled deliciousness.
The Oster® DuraCeramic™ Panini Maker & Grill is one of the more affordable models and although the grill plates do not come off, it is a breeze to clean up.
Paninis are versatile and can be a great way to experiment with what you have on hand. Grilled cheese is a given when considering what can be made on a panini grill. Roast beef, pork chops, or even fried chicken can be sliced thin, combined with cheese or veggies and stuffed between pieces of bread or into a tortilla for a quick and happy ending to the leftovers story. Roasted veggies, artichokes, olive tapenade, spinach, tomatoes, avocados, and a number of other tasty items are just waiting to be pressed into a sandwich. Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless.
Sun-dried tomatoes taste as if summertime has been trapped in each tomatoey bite. Combine them in this recipe with pesto chock full of aromatic basil and understated and creamy fresh mozzarella cheese to get sandwich heaven. When selecting the bread to use in your panini maker, be sure that it is sturdy and not crumbly so it will survive the pressing process intact. Some great bread options are: Italian pugilese, French baguettes, flour tortillas, and flatbread.
Italian bistro panini
fresh mozzarella , sliced
sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained (reserve some oil)
Turn on the panini maker and set it to medium-high. Cut a piece of flatbread in half. Brush the outside (the part that will touch the grill) of each piece of flatbread with some reserved oil from the tomatoes. Layer pesto, mozzarella slices, and sun-dried tomatoes between the two halves of flatbread.
Place sandwich into panini maker, press, and cook until cheese is melted and bread is toasted, about 3 minutes.