Friday, July 25, 2008
The Most Delicious Caprese Paninis Ever, I SWEAR
Have you ever had a Caprese salad? They're delightful, really; thickly sliced tomatoes piled with fresh buffalo mozzarella and sweet basil leaves, and drizzled, typically, with balsamic vinegar and fine olive oil. They're fabulous in the summer. I sometimes add a little salt to my Caprese salads, but not always, since fine herbs and good vinegar/oil usually does the trick.
I decided to kick my Caprese salad up a notch, making a panini sandwich out of it. I thought I'd incorporate my Easy Breezy Every Day Pesto into it to add some nice punch and flavor. Because it's important, I made sure that all the ingredients were as fresh as possible.
The result was something out of this world -- fresh, light and even healthy. I made mine in a waffle maker because honestly? Do you think I'm going to spend $50 for a panini maker? Hardly. A waffle maker will do just fine, and if you don't have one of those, try toasting the sandwich in a cast iron skillet, the sandwich weighed down by another heavy pan or pot. Works expertly. My grade? To the moon and beyond! A++
The Most Delicious Caprese Paninis
3 Roma tomatoes
Good balsamic vinegar
Good extra virgin olive oil
1 container buffalo mozzarella in water
15 - 20 leaves fresh sweet Basil
1 loaf sliced Italian bread (or ciabatta)
About an hour before panini making, marinate thinly sliced Roma tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The tomatoes will let off liquid into the oil and vinegar, creating a nice marinade.
About ten minutes before panini making, turn on waffle maker or begin to heat pan.
One hour later, arrange two bread slices for sandwich making. Slather both pieces with homemade pesto (the more the merrier, depending on how much you like the green stuff). Atop the pesto create a layer of marinated Roma tomatoes. Atop the tomatoes layer thinly sliced buffalo mozzarella. Atop the mozzarella drape the sweet basil leaves. Create sandwich, lightly buttering the outsides of both pieces of bread, and then brushing on a light layer of olive oil.
Place sandwich into waffle maker and close lid. Watch closely, making sure cheese melts and tomatoes and basil become sufficiently wilted. Pull sandwich when bread is golden brown. Cut in half and serve immediately.
Prep/Cook time: 30 minutes prep, 5 minutes cooking (per panini)