The word panino is Italian for "small bread roll.” The plural form is panini. A panini is essentially a sandwich although it has come to refer to a grilled sandwich. They make special panini presses, and while I’ve ogled them in the Williams Sonoma catalog on more than one occasion, I decided that I really didn’t need another gadget in my kitchen (famous last words!). So…I came up with an alternative method.
I usually put the panini on my cast iron stove top grill and top it with the heavy cast iron frying pan that I inherited from my grandmother, and which I will be able to leave to my children, grandchildren, etc. (Do they ever wear out?)
I was going to make some paninis the other day when I spied my waffle iron on my shelf. Hmmmm….how about a sandwich grilled in that? Not strictly a panini maybe, but I thought it might be interesting. My husband loved it! It got nice and crispy, and the cheese melted beautifully.
You have lots of options for your filling, but for your bread you need something fairly substantial—tonight I’m using a Portuguese bread I found in the grocery store. Other times, I’ve used a round loaf of peasant Italian bread.
I’ve used deli meats (ham and turkey specifically) with a layer of cheese (provolone or swiss) with great results. But I also like to use leftover chicken. We had a rotisserie chicken the other night so I’m going to use the leftover white meat.
Deli meat slices or white meat chicken
Slices of cheese
Extras: Sliced tomatoes, avocado or onion
|Italian or Portuguese bread|
|Your basic waffle iron|
|A glass of wine for the cook!|
First, put some mayo on each slice of bread. I use light mayo. If you aren’t at all concerned about calories, butter the outsides of the slices of bread. If you want to limit the caloric hit, you can spray them with non-stick cooking spray such as Pam. Place your choice of fillings on the bread, put your sandwich together and place in your waffle iron and press down. I wasn’t able to completely close and lock my waffle iron, but that didn’t matter.
|The delicious finished product|
Grill for approximately three minutes (depends on how hot your waffle iron gets so be sure to check every minute or so.)
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