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.