Feb 15, 2012

easy vegetable panini

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I've been thinking about veggie paninis for a while now.  For my birthday a couple months ago we went to Melt (an awesome grilled cheese restaurant that makes fancy sandwiches with everything from crab cakes to meatballs and pierogies).

They make pure inspiration in the form of a sandwich.

Since then, I've been thinking about how we can make our own Melt-style sandwiches.

We came up with this veggie panini.  It's a big panini moment here, as it's the first time we made them at home.  We made a panini bar where we each created our own sandwiches from the ingredients we wanted to include.  (Consider it a fancy taco bar.)  The fanciness ended there, though, since we don't have a panini maker...

...as you'll see in the super-sophisticated picture of the sandwich weighed down by cans.  Okay, so it's not at all elegant, but the end result's worth it!

Easy Vegetable Panini
Makes 4 panini

  • 1 large loaf of a crusty bread, cut into 4 sandwiches (we used Italian bread)
  • Toppings (these are what we used, but feel free to make the sandwiches your own):
    • 1 zucchini, peeled and cut into strips
    • 1 yellow squash, peeled and cut into strips
    • 1 tomato, sliced
    • 1 red pepper, cleaned and cut into strips
    • 4 slices provolone cheese
    • 1 avocado, mashed into a spread (and combined with a light mayonnaise)
Prepare all of the toppings.  Have each person create their own sandwich with whichever toppings they might like.  Put 2 panini at a time on a medium-heat stove-top grill.  (A George Foreman grill or panini maker would work beautifully now!)  Get a small saucepan and fill it with unopened cans (or anything else heavy) and push the saucepan into the tops of the sandwich.  Balance or hold the saucepan on the sandwiches, so they are compressed as they cook.  Cook the first side about 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is just starting to melt.  Carefully flip the sandwiches, put the saucepan on the other side and let them cook another 3-4 minutes.  Enjoy them warm.

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