I love a good panini. But, until I got a panini press, I thought I could only get them in a restaurant. I since learned that even without a panini press, it is possible to make the tasty sandwiches at home using a skillet and another pan on top of the sandwich weighted down with a heavy can or foil covered brick. But, the press was actually affordable…so I treated myself. It is the ultimate customizable sandwich. All you need are a few different proteins for the meat eaters…such as grilled or store bought rotisserie chicken, good quality deli ham, turkey, roast beef or pepperoni and some sautéed or fresh veggies, cheeses, a variety of spreads and ciabatta bread. Everyone in my family usually wants something different…so this is perfect. I really like carmelized onions as a topping. So I make those ahead of time. You can also sauté some peppers. Here are a few ideas:
Pepperoni pizza panini: marina, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese
Philly cheese steak: roast beef, sautéed peppers and onions, dijon mustard, provolone cheese
Green apple ham and cheese: ham, thinly sliced green apple, cheddar cheese, mayo
Rotisserie Chicken with chipotle mayo: Rotisserie chicken, pepper jack cheese, carmelized onions, chipotle mayo
Mix up some simple spreads by adding some sauce from the canned chipotle in adobo to some mayo or ranch dressing for a nice smoky flavor. Use a little at first until you are sure of how much heat you like. Set out some honey mustard, dijon, mayo. Mix in some jarred pesto to mayo or ranch…also very good. Let everyone customize and build their sandwiches to their liking. Brush some olive oil on the outside of the ciabatta slices and press away. You can sprinkle seasonings on after you brush with olive oil prior to pressing if you like. Let your imagination carry you away! I’m thinking…breakfast paninis? Yummy!