Nothing says delicious more than a crisp, melted panini sandwich that gives you a powerhouse of delightful flavor.
Make sure you get fresh, thinly sliced prosciutto, not that pre-sliced store packaged meat. Watch the deli counter technician slice the meat and be sure to ask for a slice to sample. The meat should be flavorful, with no slimy feel or off-odors, and it should have a nice chewiness to it, with a hint of salt to round out the flavor.
Make sure the panini grill or ribbed skillet is nice and hot in order to get a good sear and marking on the sandwich. Serve with a nice crisp, semi-dry white wine and a side of couscous or quinoa salad.
— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Grilled Italian Panini
16 (1-inch) sliced rustic bread (See cook's note)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil blended with 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 pound sliced smoked cheddar
1 pound thinly sliced prosciutto (very thin)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
1 ounce micro salad greens
8 ounces grated fontina cheese
Brush both sides of the slices of bread with olive oil blend.
Assemble the sandwich in layers as follows: prepared bread, cheddar, prosciutto, red onions, tomato, micro-salad greens, fontina and bread.
Place in a panini press (or in a heated grill or sauté pan pressed with heavy grill plate) and cook until crisp and golden. Serve immediately.
Cook's note: Use breads such as sourdough, pumpernickel or your own preference.