Special from Bottom Line/Personal
November 1, 2011

Crisp crust, warm tasty fillings with melted cheese—no wonder paninis have become so popular. Ciabatta bread typically is used, but a large baguette, Italian sub roll or focaccia works as well.

Paninis are pressed down lightly while cooking, but you don’t need a special panini press. Simply place the sandwich in a skillet, and press it down with a lid that is smaller than the skillet. Or place another skillet over the panini, and add a large can or other weight on top.

TURKEY AND CHEESE PANINI

1 ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
½ pound sliced low-sodium smoked turkey breast
½ cup sliced, drained canned roasted red peppers
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil spray

Cut bread into two five-inch pieces, and slice them open lengthwise. Spread olive oil on the top halves, and sprinkle garlic over the oil. Place turkey on the bottom halves. Place roasted red peppers over the turkey. Sprinkle goat cheese over the red peppers, and top each sandwich with five or six basil leaves. Cover with the top halves. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, and spray with olive oil spray. Add the paninis, and press down with a lid. Cook for three minutes. Turn them over, and press with a lid. Cook another three minutes. Serves two.

FLORENTINE CHICKEN PANINI

1 ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces)
Olive oil spray
½ cup sliced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
6 ounces cooked chicken strips
2 ounces sliced provolone cheese
½ cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped or cooked

Cut bread into two five-inch pieces, and slice them open lengthwise. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, and spray with olive oil spray. Sauté the onion and garlic about three minutes. Remove and mix the garlic and onion into the mayonnaise. Spread the top halves with the mayonnaise. Top the bottom halves with the chicken, and place the provolone over the chicken. Place the spinach over the cheese. Cover with the top halves. Heat the skillet again, and spray with olive oil spray. Add the paninis, and press down with a lid. Cook for three minutes. Turn them over, and press with a lid. Cook another three minutes. Serves two.

ROAST BEEF AND ARUGULA PANINI

1 ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces)
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
6 ounces sliced deli roast beef
1 cup sliced ripe pear
2 ounces Brie cheese, cut into half-inch strips
1 cup arugula leaves
Olive oil spray

Cut bread into two five-inch pieces, and slice them open lengthwise. Spread the top halves with mayonnaise. Put the roast beef on the two bottom halves. Place pear slices over the roast beef, and arrange the Brie cheese over the pear slices. Top with the arugula leaves. Cover with the top halves of the bread. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Add the paninis, and press down with a lid. Cook three minutes. Turn them over, and press with a lid. Cook another three minutes. Serves two.