Mod R has been mentioning the panini press lately and the need for some recipes. Warning: stock pictures of delicious food ahead.
What is a panini press?
Panini comes to us from Italy. It is thought to have originated in Lombardy, and was mentioned in some Italian writing as early as 16th century. In very simple terms, panini is a sandwich that has been smooshed between two heated plates.
A panini press is a sandwich press that’s heated on both sides. The first American sandwich press was patented in 1920’s by Thomas Edison, and became popular a bit later, when grilled cheese sandwiches came onto the scene. The classic pairing of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup? Panini presses are perfect for that.
Which panini press do you use?
I have Griddler by Cuisinart. Here is a link to one at Target. It has a handy video. It’s super easy to clean because the heating plates pop right out. They are also reversible. One side has ridges and the other side is flat and suitable for pancakes. As always, none of the links on this website are affiliate links, so we receive no money if you decide to purchase one.
What do you make with your panini press?
If you watch the video, you can see they have all sorts of stuff on there, but I use the press for mostly two things: paninis and something that involves tortillas.
A basic panini recipe is pretty simple. Plug the press in. Turn the middle selector onto Grill/Panini and Panini selector onto sear. Close the press and let it heat up. The light will turn green when hot.
I lightly butter 2 slices of bread on one side, and by lightly, I mean just a bare coating of butter. We need it for the crisp. Alternatively, you can either brush the press with oil or use one of those aerosol oil cans.
I tend to assemble the sandwich on the press, but you can preassemble if you want. One slice goes on the bottom press, buttered side down, then cheese, meat, tomato, or lettuce, or whatever it is you want, little bit of condiments such as mayo or mustard, a bit more meat, cheese, and the final slice buttered side up.
Press. I tend to hold it a little bit.
Then you eyeball it. You can lift it the top press at any point to check how brown you want your panini. I tend to sear it to brown crispiness.
Easiest thing in the world, super fast when you need dinner in 20 minutes or less.
- 2 tortillas burrito size
- Shredded cheese of your choice – Mexican cheese blend works well, you can do pizza blend, of shredded smoked Cheddar, etc.
- Topping: left over shredded chicken, steak cut up paper thin, left over taco ground beef or turkey, plant-based meat substitute, etc. Whatever floats your boat, as long as its thin
- Your favorite taco sauce
- a little bit of oil for crispiness
Slightly oil 2 tortilla shells on one side. 1 tortilla goes oil side down on the press.
We toss some shredded Mexican cheese blend or shredded cheese of your choice, we toss some shredded meat, then we drip taco sauce in a kind of spiral – you will need a bit less than you think. We follow that with a handful of cheese, we slap the second tortilla on there oiled side up, press, sizzle until we see some light brown grill marks, and then we use the spatula to slide it straight onto the cutting board and apply pizza cutter.
You can throw a bit of shredded peppers in there or sauté some bell pepper slices if you want to go vegetarian route, etc.
You know what else is amazing on the panini press?
- 1 pack of 10 torillas, soft taco size
- 4 eggs
- 6 slices of bacon
- your favorite shredded cheese
- your favorite taco sauce
You can assemble these just like we did with quesadillas or you can save some sanity like me. I’m lazy.
Make sure your panini press is good and hot.
Cook bacon. Make basic scrambled eggs. Turn off the heat. Break bacon up into the eggs. Mix well. Throw about a cup of shredded cheese. Mix.
Oil your soft taco tortillas on one side. We flop the soft taco down, we spoon a bit of filling into it, drip a bit of taco sauce, fold the shell over with a spatula or tongs, and press. 30 seconds, and we pull it onto a plate and rinse and repeat.
You can get creative with fillings. Again, hatch chilli or some people like tomato, or whatever floats your boat.