It’s Panini Time – Junk Food Post #6

Well the first week of unResolution month is almost over.  How is everyone feeling?  I’m hoping for full, but stuffed would work, too.

So, today’s wondrous dive into the realm of food-that-cannot-possibly-be-good-for-you-no-matter-how-hard-you-try has been inspired by Michele, Jen, and Sean Paul Ellis (who has actually inspired two posts this month.)

Thanks to all three of you because without your comments, we might not have an unResolution month post on …


To be fair, Michele, Jen, and Sean all mentioned grilled sandwiches, but I don’t know, there’s something cool about the word Panini.  And a Panini is a grilled sandwich, after all.

Still, it’s kind of hard to give the definitive Panini recipe since, really, Panini is a technique more than an individual sandwich (as far as I know…), but perhaps that’s why they are so popular.  Really anything can be good Panini fodder, all you need is a little butter/vegan margarine (or a lot!), some cheese (vegan or otherwise) to act as glue and some bread.  After all, it’s not much of a sandwich without the bread!

With that being said, the following recipe is one I tend to like a lot.  It’s simple, delicious, and I think it fits the month.

Ham, Apple, Caramelized Onion, and Baby Swiss Panini

To make this sammie, you are going to need:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices of sourdough bread (this was Jen’s suggestion and I like it.)
  • 2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 8 slices baby Swiss
  • 1 apple, diced (if you want to keep this sandwich unhealthy, deep fry the apple ;))
  • 1 pound sliced ham

Caramelized Onions

Okay, the first thing you are going to do is caramelize your onions.  If you haven’t caramelized onions, you don’t know what you are missing.  Caramelizing onions is a little like culinary alchemy.  It takes onions, even really spicy white ones and through gentle heat and time, turns them into something sweet and delicious.  And I really like them.

The good news is they are really easy to make!  All you need is a little time.  Here’s what you do:

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  When it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and let them melt.

Once the butter is melted, immediately add the onions and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to turn translucent (maybe 6-8 minutes) then cover the skillet with a lid and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 45 minutes and then get ready to slather them on a sandwich!

Stack the Panini

Arrange 8 pieces of sourdough into 4 pairs.  Smear the mayonnaise on one of the pairs and put the baby Swiss on the other.

Next, add the onions to the cheese half of the bread.  Then put the diced apples on top of the onions.  Finally, add the ham to the mayonnaise side and close the sandwich.

Produce the Panini

Okay, if you have a sandwich press, then your job is easy.  Butter the outside of both sides of the bread and follow the directions.

Now, if you don’t have a sandwich press, it’s mad scientist time.  You are going to need two skillets and a brick.  (Okay, if you don’t have a brick, use a couple of cans. :))

Heat one skillet over medium heat until it’s warm.  While the skillet is coming to heat, butter one side of the sandwich.

Put two sandwiches in the skillet, butter side down, and place the second skillet on top.  Add the brick and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet and butter the exposed piece of bread.  Flip and replace the skillet and brick.  Cook for another 2 minutes or until the cheese gets melty.

Cut in half and do that cool half stack thing you see in the TV shows and, of course…


Photo credits go to ishane and iLoveButter.

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