I cannot stop making panini.
Without question my favorite thing in the new year is my shiny new panini grill. Oh I know...panini are so last decade. I don't care-I'm late for the party and now I'm hooked.
My first panini were basically "clean out the fridge panini". I used supermarket deli sliced chicken breast and brie. While I chose to use deli sliced because it was what I had on hand, feel free to substitute leftover roasted chicken or store bought rotisserie.
The spinach was really an afterthought. One of my New Year's resolutions is to each some sort of fruit or vegetable with every meal (OK I know I should have been doing that last decade too, but what can I say?). As it turns out the spinach worked perfectly. The jam was a holiday leftover. Purchased at my local Homegoods, the hot pepper raspberry jam was delicious. I may run out tomorrow and see if I can find a few more jars...it was really good-not too hot, in fact barely warm...but really wonderful tasting.
The most important part of making good panini is your bread selection. A soft regular bread just won't hold up with too many fillings. I chose a sprouted whole grain bread from the bakery section at Whole Foods that was both sturdy and flavorful. Firm rolls also work incredibly well.
5 Tips for Perfect Panini:
1. Choose a firm, sturdy bread
2. Divide the cheese between both slices of bread for best "melting together"
3. Preheat your panini grill
4. Experiment with different flavored oils brushed on the outside of the bread.
5. For best melting without leaking, do not over stuff with cheese and/or other fillings.
Roasted Chicken and Brie Panini with Hot Raspberry Jam
4 slices sturdy whole grain bread cut 1/4-1/2 inch thick
4 teaspoons hot pepper raspberry jam
2 ounces sliced brie, rind removed
1/4 lb. deli roasted chicken breast
1/2 cup (packed)baby spinach leaves
2 teaspoons crushed raw almonds
2 teaspoons red pepper flavored olive oil
Preheat your panini grill according to manufacturers directions.
Arrange your bread on a work surface. Spread 1 teaspoon of the jam over each slice of bread.
Divide the brie between the bread slices spreading gently over the jam. Stack the chicken, spinach and almonds on 2 of the bread slices then top with the remaining bread slices. Brush the sandwiches with the oil and place on the grill; close the grill and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.