Summertime Paninis

Summertime Paninis

Summertime may mean more casual eating but that doesn't mean you have to give up flavor and flair! These pressed, grilled sandwiches turn simple store-bought ingredients into special meals. The sandwiches get appealing "grill marks" when made in a grill pan, but taste just as good when cooked in a nonstick skillet. Be sure to put weight on the sandwiches as they cook: Press them with a skillet or plate topped with a heavy can.

To cut the sodium, fat, and/or calories, use low-sodium sliced ham and light cheddar. Cabot makes a 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar that is especially tasty. A shredded cheddar cheese also works well.

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham

4 ounces cheddar cheese, crumbled or shredded

1 cup arugula

4 potato rolls, split

1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Layer the tomato, ham, cheese and arugula over the bottom halves of each roll and close the sandwiches. Use half the oil to lightly brush the tops of each roll.

2. Using either a nonstick pan or a grill pan coated with cooking spray, heat the pan over medium high. Working with 1 or 2 sandwiches at a time (depending on the size of your pan), place them oiled sides down in the pan. Top with another pan or plate, and add a large can for additional weight. Cook 2 minutes, or until the undersides are browned. Turn the sandwiches over, and again cook under the weight for about 2 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

2 (4-ounce) long Italian sandwich rolls

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

8 ounces sliced roast turkey breast

2 apples, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Split the rolls horizontally. Sprinkle the cut sides of the bottoms with the blue cheese; top with the turkey, apple slices and parsley leaves. Close the sandwiches and lightly brush the tops with half the oil.

2. Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray or a nonstick pan over medium high. Add the sandwiches with the tops, oiled bread facing down and top with another skillet or plate weighted with a large can. Cook 2 minutes or until browned; turn and repeat.

3. To serve, cut each panini diagonally in half.

Makes 4 servings.

Los Angeles Times-Washington Post

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