I’ve been wanting a panini maker for a long time. The problem is, I don’t have storage for any more gadgets (unless something else goes) and I don’t want to spend $100 for something that claims to be a lot of things but is really just a panini maker.
But the other day, when a panini hankering struck with a vengeance, I got resourceful and decided to try making one in my George Foreman grill. Worked like a charm. I had to hold it down for the first 30 seconds or so, but once it had flattened a bit, we were off and running.
This is kinda-sorta how I made the Black Forest Ham sandwiches for our women’s Christmas Tea this year. Except for the grilling part. And the provolone. And the focaccia. Other than that, it’s exactly the same. 😉
Paninis are so great because you just mix and match meats, cheeses, veggies and spices. Just see what you have in the fridge and go crazy.
If you have time, make your own focaccia. It really is better when it’s coming straight out of the oven. But you can also buy nice focaccia almost anywhere nowadays. I found this Rosemary focaccia at Haggen’s. This one was big enough that I made one giant panini, gave half to Dave, and split the other half with Tera.
In this bowl I mixed up about 3 oz of cream cheese, a couple of spoonfuls of apricot-pineapple jam, and a healthy sprinkling of garlic powder. Next time I’ll cut back on the jam, because Dave wasn’t crazy about that much sweetness in his sandwich.
Slice the bread in half and spread this mixture on one side. On top of that, layer a generous amount of Black Forest ham, then slices of provolone. Greens would go nicely on top of this–arugula or watercress, I’m thinking–but I didn’t have any.
Top with the second half of the bread, and either a) put in your expensive panini maker, b) put in your George Foreman grill, or c) put in a regular old frying pan and weigh down with something heavy–a lid with a pot placed on top, for instance. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then check to see how brown the bottom is getting. When ready, flip and cook the other side.
This was soooooo good. Despite my husband’s repulsed, “what is that sweet stuff in the cream cheese” expression.