Sandwiches are an easy go to for lunch, but sometimes the regular PB&J or lunch meat sandwich just gets boring and repetitive. An easy way to turn a sandwich into something a bit more interesting and comforting on a winter afternoon is to toast it.
To make paninis you don’t need a fancy panini press. You can just toast it on a skillet on the stove. I like to butter the outside of the bread and sprinkle some garlic salt to add flavor and get a great crispness to the bread.
Building a great sandwich starts with great bread. Of course anything will do, but if you have a moist loaf with great flavor, the sandwich will turn out even more delicious. I would suggest a sourdough or Italian bread. They will have a nice soft and chewy texture that goes great with all the sandwich fixings. Ciabatta is also a good choice, but it has holes throughout the loaf, so if you plan to slice the bread and then smear condiments, I would steer clear. But if you have the ciabatta rolls that will work great!
Condiments – They add great flavor and keep the sandwich from being too dry. The standard mayonnaise and mustard are great, or you can kick it up a notch by adding some pesto or chopped chipotles to the mayo or use hummus instead. For this sandwich, I used a balsamic glaze that goes great with tomatoes and basil.
There’s so much versatility to sandwiches and you don’t have to go crazy on the amount of ingredients you add. Even just a few simple, fresh ingredients warmed and melted together make for a satisfying lunch.
Caprese Panini – Serves 2, Cook Time: 20 minutes
4 slices Sourdough or Italian bread
4-6 slices of bacon
1 large tomato, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
2-4 basil leaves, thinly sliced
Cook the bacon on the stovetop or microwave until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the plain side of the bread drizzle some balsamic glaze and then begin stacking the mozzarella, bacon, tomato, basil, and more mozzarella. Drizzle more balsamic glaze on the other slice of bread.
Cook the panini (with the buttered sides of the bread facing outward), in a panini press or on a skillet on the stove over medium heat. When the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about three minutes, flip and cook the other side until the bread is golden brown.
Slice the sandwich diagonally and serve with soup, salad, or some chips.