Well, it may not be a huge war, but our Sunday brunch was somewhat of a cultural dichotomy. In our home, brunch is never complete without a pot of tea to two, but, sometimes, rather than the traditional brunch fare, we like to expand our horizons a bit. Today was a case in point.
Most often, we have bacon or sausage with a German Pancake or Crepes, but every once in a while, we enjoy a hearty brunch with a little more pizazz. And Panini sandwiches definitely have pizazz. They are quite easy to make - really, they only take minutes, but they are hearty and filling and full of flavor.
We make our Panini's with either Ciabatta Rolls or thick slices of homemade French bread. I lay the slices of bread open and fill both sides with wonderful meats, cheeses and vegetables. After I put the two sides of the sandwiches together, I butter one side, lay the sandwich buttered side down on a medium/hot griddle and cover with an old (but clean) cookie sheet. After the cookie sheet is in place, I put a large, cast-iron dutch oven on the cookie sheet, fill it with beans (to add weight) and put the lid on the dutch oven. The weight of the dutch-oven and the beans compress the sandwiches, grilling the bottom, while melting the cheeses into the meats and vegetables. Yumm! After the bottom is sufficiently browned (about 5-8 minutes), I take the Dutch oven off the cookie sheet, remove the cookie sheet and butter the tops of the Panini. Then, I turn the Panini over on the griddle and brown. Once again, I replace the cookie sheet and Dutch oven, pressing down from time to time. Soon, the cheese starts melting down the sides of the sandwiches and pooling in crunchy puddles as the base of the toasted rolls.
|Both halves are laden|
|Using my Panini Press method|
|Buttering the tops, getting ready to turn them over|
I like to serve Panini with pasta sauce for dipping. It is so hearty that it rarely requires an accompaniment other than a light salad. If you are looking for a quick, tasty meal, a Panini just might be the answer. Oh, and don't forget the tea - they go remarkably well together!