The perfect panini

PCC Taste | June 2011

panini

Panini sandwiches make versatile, quick and easy meals, but if you don't have a panini maker, you can improvise and still turn out a crispy and quite delicious sandwich.

Bread — You virtually can use any type of bread with a tight crumb. It's best to slice the bread thin, no more than 3/4-inch thick. Ideal choices are any of the PCC Bakery organic breads made fresh daily from The Essential Baking Company. Try Sourdough, Campagnolo or Rosemary Garlic.

Filling — A typical Italian panini generally contains no more than three or four ingredients, emphasizing flavor combinations. Thin-sliced PCC Deli meats and cheeses are perfect for panini, but just about any filling will work. Be creative and keep in mind, the thinner the filling volume, the better the ingredients will fuse together when cooked. When using salad greens, grill your sandwich and then insert anything you'd like to keep leafy — lettuce, spinach, arugula — right before serving.

Condiments — Search no further than the PCC Deli for delicious spreads and condiments to add an extra layer of flavor in your sandwich creation. Try our Basil Pesto, Red Pepper Tapenade, Artichoke Dip, or Feta Sundried Tomato Spread.

Basic technique — Preheat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Spread the outside of your sandwich with softened butter or olive oil to keep it from sticking and to create the characteristic crunchy exterior. Place the panini in the hot pan and set a second frying pan on top of the sandwich, placing a can of soup or beans in the top pan to weigh it down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Cut in half diagonally and serve immediately.

Try these tasty combinations:

  • PCC Deli Gorgonzola Roasted Pecan Spread, caramelized onions, thinly sliced apples and spinach.
  • PCC Deli Feta and Sundried Tomato Spread and roasted portabello mushrooms on PCC Rosemary Garlic bread.
  • Grilled chicken breast, provolone cheese, Caesar dressing and romaine lettuce.
  • Roasted asparagus, mozzarella and basil pesto on multi-grain bread.
  • Rapunzel Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and bananas on challah or brioche, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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