Thursday, July 21, 2011

A myriad of tastes and textures.

I bought the ingredients for this sandwich fully intending on making a pizza. However, Pizza Friday Jared had a serious fish and chips craving taking us to the Highlander (which is amazing, if you're in the area... crunchy coating, flaky fish, I could go on...) and putting pizza on the back burner.

I'm still planning on a pizza, but this panini will be hard to beat. Crunchy bread, creamy and tangy goat cheese, sweet fig preserves, and salty prosciutto. Really delicious.

I'll be the first to say that I love Alton Brown and embrace his anti-unitasker stance. My mango pitter is my knife, my quesadilla maker is a pair of cast iron skillets, and I flatten my chicken paillards with my rolling pin. However, Ina Garten mentioned in
Barefoot Contessa at Home that she also eschews unnecessary kitchen gadgetry but purchased a panini press and loves it, noting that nothing beats it for a quick dinner. When we received one as a wedding gift (that doubles as a griddle, so not totally a unitasker) we were thrilled.

Thinking about my pizza that wasn't, I decided to put the panini press to work and I was not disappointed. These ingredients are made for one another, and made to by grilled! See those dark spots on the sandwich?

That's fig prese
rves that escaped through the holes in the bread to become caramelized deliciousness. The goat cheese oozes and the prosciutto poking out on the edges gets a little crispy. It's a fantastic lunch or dinner with a little salad and a glass of rosé out on the patio.

Fig, Prosciutto, and Herbed Goat Cheese Panini
Makes 1 sandwich

Note: I love my panini press but you absolutely don't need one to make this sandwich. Instead, heat one small and one medium cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once they're hot, place the oiled sandwich on the medium skillet and place the small heated skillet on top of it, pressing down. Turn the sandwich over if the bottom is finished toasting before the top.

2 slices rustic bread
Fig preserves
Herbed goat cheese
2 slices prosciutto
Olive oil

1. Preheat your panini press to medium-high. Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of jam. You want both slices to be covered but not slathered. Next, spread each layer with the goat cheese. Again, you want a nice thin layer; I used probably 1-2 oz but you should use whatever suits your taste. Finally, layer the prosciutto onto one slice and put the other on top so all of your fillings are inside.

2. Brush both sides of the outside of your sandwich lightly with olive oil. The goal is to get enough to crisp and brown the bread but not leave it soggy or greasy. Put your sandwich on the panini grill, close the lid and press down. My sandwich took about 5 minutes to get crispy and golden, but yours could take more or less, depending on your particular press so check it after a few minutes.

3. When your sandwich is hot with pretty grill marks, cut it in half and serve immediately.

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