I recently wrote a guest post for my friend Shellina over at The Frugal Flambe. Here is a little snippet of it! To read the entire post,
click here .[Update: see the entire of the post below]
When the sunny weather starts peaking through those clouds, fresh food comes to the mind. Something light and simple with ingredients that leave your palate feeling refreshed. One of my favorite (and extremely easy) meals to make on a summer’s day is a caprese panini. The combination of juicy tomatos, creamy mozzarella, and crisp basil pressed together between grilled bread is such a delight. This dish is so simple, yet a wonderful variation to the classic insalata caprese. For those of you who haven’t had it before, a classic caprese salad is served as an antipasto, and it consists of thick slices of mozzarella laid on top of slices of tomato and topped off with fresh basil leaves. Then, olive oil is drizzled over them along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That’s all! Simple, but delicious. I’ve made various caprese dishes, and this panini is one of my favorites! Something about the ingredients fusing together between crunchy bread just keeps me coming back for more!
I’m a sucker for cheese (any kind really) so this melted goodness just calls to me! And if the tomatoes are ripe and fresh, you really can’t go wrong. If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, a jar of pesto works really well too! And for those that crave meat, don’t be afraid to add some grilled chicken to the sandwich to make it a heartier meal! What a great way to add a personal flare to the dish. This panini also goes great with a salad and a glass of wine. Buon appetito!
Caprese Panini (makes one sandwich)
- 1/2 Ripe tomato, sliced
- Handful of basil leaves
- Sliced mozzarella
- 2 Slices of bread
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
- Grill pan or panini press
Brush 1 tablespoon olive oil on one side of the bread. Repeat with the other slice. Lay the first piece of the bread olive oil side down, and then add a layer of basil and then tomatoes. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes, and then top with the sliced mozzarella. Put the other slice of bread on top with the side brushed with olive oil on top (this will allow the outside of the panini to get nice and crispy).
If you are using a panini press, place it on the hot press until the outside of the panini is golden brown. If you are using a grill pan, make sure the pan is at about medium heat. Set the entire sandwich on the pre-heated pan and using a glass casserole dish (or large pot), press down on the sandwich for about 30 seconds and then just leave the heavy casserole dish or pot on top of the sandwich until the side on the grill is golden brown.
Flip the panini and repeat. The panini is ready when the outside of the sandwich is toasted with grill marks and the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!