Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Panini Party!

We finally moved into our new home and life is starting to settle down again. I wanted to share a party we threw to celebrate the new house and my husband's birthday. My parents gave us a panini press for Christmas last year and I didn't take it out of the box until this July. I was waiting for the perfect occasion, I suppose! There's no way you can mess up a panini, in my opinion, anything with bread and cheese can't go wrong. We had sliced turkey, mozzarella and Swiss cheese, arugula, onion and prosciutto on hand with a spicy dijon and olive oil mayonnaise. Be sure to brush some olive oil on the outside of the bread to allow it to toast nicely.

Side note - If you don't have a panini press, you can simply place the sandwich on a pan, preferably cast-iron, and top it with another heavy pan to press it flat. In all honesty, I like this way better. Save money on a panini press and grab 2 cast iron pans at a local hardware store. Cast iron pans are a definite must-have for the kitchen, anyway. Our panini press took a long time to get to the right temp, which still could have been hotter. If you choose the cast-iron route, be sure to regulate the heat, once the pan is hot, turn the heat down so not to burn bread.

1. Choose a rustic Italian bread like ciabatta or focaccia. Any bread with a semi-solid nature.
2. Bread slices should be no more than 1/2"
3. Brush outside of bread with good quality olive oil.

Arugula, tomato, prosciutto and brie
Roasted red peppers, watercress and goat cheese
Basil, mozzarella, tomato and olive tapenade
Brie and apple with fig jam
Turkey, swiss, red onion and pesto
Fontina, mozzarella, sundried tomato and baby spinach
Gorgonzola, pear and escarole
Artichoke, provolone, pesto and speck

Another special thanks to Yvette for the killer photos!

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