My kids and I have a love affair with paninis. The toasty pressed sandwiches have so many possibilities for fabulous, delicious fillings: chicken, pesto and tomato; ham, Swiss and honey mustard; roast beef, blue cheese and arugula. The list goes on and on.
Well, in researching for my Tablespoon.com column, I discovered that August is National Panini Month. Um, hello! It didn’t take much convincing to get me to head to the kitchen and start creating some delicious paninis.
Up first was Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Tomato and Basil. I wasn’t sure if that one would work for us, since we’ve never been huge goat cheese fans, but combined with lots of fresh basil, fabulous grilled chicken and juicy tomato, it was amazing. I love the creaminess that it imparted on the sandwich. As for the kids, they polished the whole thing off fast.
As much as we enjoyed that panini, it was the second one that totally won my heart and taste buds: Turkey, Apple and Cheddar (that’s the one at top). As far as flavor combinations go, I adore sweet apple with sharp cheddar and the turkey (my fav is Boars Head Maple Glazed Honey Turkey — Delicious) goes perfectly with that. Will gobbled that one right up. Paige, who is a tougher sell on all sandwiches, skipped the bread and ate the fillings, so I guess it was a relative win for her too.
Do you love paninis? What’s your favorite flavor combo?
Grilled Chicken, Goat Cheese, Tomato and Basil Panini
1 pat (about 1/3 inch) butter
2 slices Italian bread
1 oz goat cheese, softened
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 3-4 ounce grilled chicken breast
2 slices tomatoes
salt and pepper
Heat a panini pan and press over medium grill on your stove (or preheat your panini press).
Melt the butter. Lightly brush the sides of the bread with the butter.
Spread the goat cheese onto one slice of bread. Top with chopped basil, then chicken breast, tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top with second slice of bread.
Press the sandwich on the panini pan/press until lightly browned on both sides.
Cut in half and serve.
Turkey, Apple and Cheddar Panini
1 pat (1/3″ thick) butter
2 slices Italian bread
1 1 oz slice cheddar cheese
3 1/4 inch thick slices apple (peeled)
3 oz honey maple turkey breast
Melt the butter in a small pan. Meanwhile, preheat your panini grill or panini pan and press.
Brush the bread with melted butter and place one slice, butter side down, on the panini grill or pan. Top with cheddar, apple slices and turkey. Then cover with the second piece of bread (butter side up).
Press the panini and cook for 3-5 minutes until toasted and warmed throughout.