Panini or Italian for sandwich is one of my go to favourites!
And I'm talking Italian food yet again.
Think God missed his mark and got confused to where he was supposed to send me. Thats the only explanation I can think of since I think I love Italian food more than anything and yet I'm not in La Italia.
You can tell how much I love Italian food by the excessive number of times I've already used those words
Did I tell you I love Italian food?
Before you go off and think I'm crazy or weird or something (which btw, I totally am- no kidding) I'm going to head on over to the recipe of the simple Panini.
Caprese salad is one of the truest Italian things you can ever think of. The combination of ripe succulent red tomatoes with fresh basil leaves and mozzarella cheese. That and all that drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
I mean OMG!! You gotta love that right?!
And this Panini, combines all those flavours- oooohhhh yeah (read that in 'Duffman' style). Over n above those flavours, take this to a whole other level with garlic infused balsamic reduction. The sweetness of the Balsamic echoing the tart sweetness of the ripened tomatoes and the very subtle garlic flavour adding a whole other dimension to the otherwise simple Panini....ohhh baby, come to mama!
Are you salivating yet?! I sure am. Lets get onto it then!
Time taken: 10 mins
Your choice of bread
Ripe tomatoes (sliced horizontally)
Fresh basil leaves
Mozzarella cheese (fresh if available)
2 cloves garlic (I used 4 but mine were teeeeeeny tiny)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of Extra virgin olive oil
Salt n pepper
Pinch o' Love
To make the balsamic reduction take a pan over low heat. Add your garlic cloves
To that add the cup of Balsamic vinegar.
Let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes till the BV starts to bubble around the edges.
The BV will reduce and thicken a little. Look at how beautifully its caramelized around the edges. Turn off the heat and save for later. If you have extra reduction left after making the panini, store it in the fridge for upto a week.
To make the panini,
Slice the bread like so
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the bread and smear it
Next drizzle some Balsamic reduction on the other half of the bread. Please note that this reduction is going to be quite sweet. So best not to go overboard. About 1 1/2 tbsp is good enough
Line up the sliced up tomatoes. Please note my poor knife skills by how unevenly the tomatoes are sliced.
Please slice yours unevenly as well.
It'll help me live better.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Next slice up some mozzarella over those tomatoes... oooooooo mozzarella- its going to turn so gooey so soon
Layer the fresh basil leaves over the cheese. Pssssst.. you could change the order of layering these three on the bread, I won't complain.
Season with a little salt n freshly cracked black pepper and your pinch of love.
Place the other half of the bread over it. Your panini is almost done
Now just place this in the panini press (use a griddle or a skillet if there's not panini press- improvise!). Brush some olive oil over the top and the bottom and shut the panini press for about 2-3 minutes. You'll smell deliciousness in the making.
Here's what happens to the cheese...melting right down..ohh boy!
Your Panini's done! Take it off the press and slice it in the middle diagonally.
Be very careful though, the melting cheese is going to be very hot!
Drizzle a few drops of balsamic reduction over the top before serving.
Serve with some chips if you will or just pour yourself a glass of wine and forget about your worries as you bite into this blessing. Indulge!
I made this one without the BV reduction made with a regular sandwich bread on a griddle. We're breaking all the rules here, aren't we?!! Oh and I sneaked in a little bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese in there as well. Isn't it a beauty?!