The weather last Thursday called for snow beginning in the afternoon. My husband suggested a soup and sandwich night for supper, paninis to be specific. I checked the Williams-Sonoma and Epicurious web pages for inspiration and I came up with my own recipe that I think is rather good. I needed boneless chicken breasts, fresh mozzarella, pesto sauce, roasted peppers and a sturdy bread.
Whole Foods has on special until tomorrow air-chilled bone-in split chicken breasts for $2.99/lb. for prime members. I taught myself how to make boneless chicken breasts from bone-in chicken from Marcella Hazan in her cookbook The Classic Italian Cook Book. I’m sure you could probably find a video on YouTube or on the web that will show you how to do this. It takes some practice, but once you’ve mastered the technique, you can fillet your own chicken breasts and save some money.
For the paninis, I butterflied open each breast and lightly pounded each with the flat side of a meat mallet so the cutlets would be more uniform in thickness. I then seasoned them with salt and pepper, drizzled some olive oil on each side before placing them in a grill pan to cook. Four or five minutes per side was just about all was needed.
The bread I used was a Levain Pan Loaf at Whole Foods for $4.50. The bread had a nice chewy crust and a firm inside texture. For my fresh mozzarella, I went to Pastosa Ravioli in Manasquan where they make fresh mozzarella every day ($8.99/lb.) To add some flavor to the sandwich I made a pesto mayonnaise spread using 1/4 cup of homemade pesto sauce, 1/8 cup of mayonnaise and approximately 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. I had a jar of roasted peppers on hand to also go on the sandwich.
I sprinkled a tiny amount of olive oil on each side of the bread. Next, I spread some of the pesto mayonnaise on the inside of each slice. Next came a few strips of red pepper, a piece of boneless chicken and a slice of fresh mozzarella to complete the sandwich.I preheated my panini press and had the sandwiches in there for approximately five minutes until the bread was golden.
The sandwiches were delicious. The bread held up nicely with all the ingredients, everything was heated through and the mozzarella melted nicely. My husband enjoyed the paninis, which made for a easy weeknight meal. If you don’t know a panini press, you can use a regular fry pan, place a dish on top of the sandwich and place a 28 or 32 ounce can of tomatoes on top to create some weight to press down on the cooking sandwich. Enjoy!
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.