Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paninis (without a panini maker)

I decided to attempt to make home made paninis tonight even though I don't own a panini press.  I started with the very best ingredients that I could find - vine ripened tomatoes, crusty Italian bread, fresh basil, creamy avocado and fresh mozzarella cheese.  What could go wrong? 

Since I didn't have a panini press at my disposal, I armed myself with a cast iron skillet and I fired up the Big Green Egg.  I didn't have a recipe to follow so I decided to "wing it".  I sliced the bread into nice thick slices and buttered one side of each piece with melted butter.  I layered fresh mozzarella, tomato, avocado and basil leaves on the bread and topped it with another slice.  I put the sandwich on the grill and put my cast iron skillet on top.  It worked beautifully - the paninis were perfectly toasted and pressed.

The next time that I make these, I am going to add a little pesto to the unbuttered side of the bread to bring out the flavor of the basil even more. 

I made a couple of paninis with just fresh mozzarella cheese.  The kids were thrilled with their grilled cheese paninis. 

If you don't have a Big Green Egg - use a charcoal grill or even a gas grill.  I am ready to try some new paninis now - send me your panini ideas.  I'm ready for a challenge.

Bon Appetit!

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