Summer vegetables are now coming to market. I was in a quandary as to what to make for dinner. My husband mentioned that we hadn’t had paninis in a while, so I began to think about sandwich fillings. On recent visit to Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck, I saw New Jersey green and yellow zucchini, Mediterranean zucchini, bi-color and white corn, broccoli and tomatoes. I thought a vegetable panini would be a great change of pace.
I already had a green zucchini, white spring onion and two red peppers at home. For additional color I purchased a small yellow zucchini. My husband suggested Portobello mushrooms. I couldn’t resist summer corn, so I purchased several ears. Melted cheese on a panini always sounds appealing. On a second visit for the week to Pastosa in Manasquan, I purchased a large ball of fresh made mozzarella and a round loaf of Italian bread.
When I returned home, I got to work preparing the night’s supper. Using my mandoline, I sliced the zucchinis and onion into ¼” slices. The red pepper was cut into thin strips. I placed all the vegetables in a bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. I also added some fresh thyme leaves for additional flavor. I used my wire grill basket from Williams-Sonoma to cook vegetables on the grill for a smoky flavor. For a spread on the panini, I roasted a head of garlic in the oven.
The Portobello mushrooms had their stem and gills removed. I cleaned them with a damp paper towel then brushed a bit of extra virgin olive oil on them and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Once the sliced vegetables were done cooking, I placed the mushrooms in the basket. They only needed to cook for several minutes on each side. Once done, I put a bit of homemade pesto on the underside of the mushroom and topped with a slice of mozzarella and grilled them until the cheese melted.
For the panini, I cut a wedge of bread and removed some of the bread to make a base for the filling. I brushed one side with homemade pesto and roasted garlic on the other. I placed a tablespoon or two of the grilled vegetables inside the bread and drizzled with a bit of smoked balsamic vinegar from Carter and Cavero (Sea Girt) over the vegetables. To finish the filling, I topped with a slice of mozzarella. A light brushing of EVVO on the top of the panini and they were ready to go onto the press.
To go along with this all vegetable meal we had white summer corn and platter of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella dressed with EVOO and a chiffonade of basil from the garden.
What a wonderful and light supper this turned out to be. The Portobello mushroom was delicious and had a slight meaty taste. The paninis were flavorful with the thyme seasoning and the hint of smokiness from the smoked balsamic vinegar. There’s nothing like summer corn and tomatoes. Sometimes just a tomato and mozzarella salad with a loaf of Italian bread makes a great summertime lunch.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.