I’ve eaten a lot of paninis, so many that I like to consider myself a panini connoisseur. On my blog, I share the ones that stand out- this one stood out. I went to Ballaro in New York on an early Sunday afternoon, unaware that they were only serving their brunch menu and not their regular menu, which included a long list of paninis. Fortunately for me, my waitress and I devised a plan where we could create an amazing panini despite their limited Sunday ingredients.
Lo and behold this thoughtfully created panini, a perfect example of why two minds are better than one:
This panini consisted of the basic Italian ingredients: Parmesan, arugula, olive oil, and Bresaola. My waitress, who was from Italy, explained to me how they make Bresaola in her country. It is an air dried beef, that has been aged for two to three months until it becomes this rich purple color (see next picture).
Much to my surprise, this panini was thoughtfully created in yet one more way:
Mid bite, I noticed that the Bresaola had been grilled on the panini separately before grilled with the sandwich (notice the grill marks). Genius!
PANINI TIP: Depending on the type of ingredients, grill the meats and veggies in your sandwich separately before you grill them all together.
Tempeh. Many run from this word, as it is unknown to most. However, I’ve slowly started to notice it’s becoming more and more ‘trendy’. I started to explore this tempeh, what makes it both intimidating and attractive? Fermented whole soybeans with mold, similar to tofu. Tempeh is a meat substitute, it’s firm, dry and chewy and the best part about it is that you can get it smoked- tastes like bacon!! Which is why when I first tried tempeh, it was smoked and I found it delicious. At Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant in New York, their menu featured many variations of tempeh. I got a smoked temeph sandwich with roasted red pepper, roasted zucchini, arugula, with a tomato spread on whole grain bread.
Ways we can use temeph in panini form: replace your grilled meat with grilled temeph, try it smoked, grill it with some veggies on the panini with a soy sauce, and naturally add it into your next panini :).
*Did you notice the great panini grill marks on the tempeh?
What better way to enjoy the classic sandwiches than on a panini maker? If you’re not a tuna person, I get it- I’ve seen the smell of tuna turn people away from trying it. However, I know of a little trick that masks its’ strong flavor and encourage more people to try it!! One of my favorite ways to eat tuna is with a little cajun mayo mixed in, on whole wheat toast, and with some Pepper Jack Cheese, and then obviously grilled in the panini maker. Pepper Jack cheese is the greatest way to minimize the strong tuna taste and gives the sandwich some great flavor.
2 slices of Whole Wheat bread
1 can of Tuna (packed in water is healthier than packed in oil)
1 slice of Pepper Jack cheese
Mayo (or Cajun Mayo)
1. Mix tuna and mayonnaise together with a fork to break down the big chunks of tuna (sometimes I add in a little crushed red pepper for some extra spice)
2. Add it on to one slice of bread
3. Top it with one slice of pepper jack cheese
4. Add the second piece of bread
5. Grill on panini for 3 minutes