Everyday Panini

On weekend mornings, when we don’t feel like making pancakes, R and I often get sucked into the Food Network‘s morning TV lineup. Somewhere around 10:00 Rachael comes on, then Giada, then Ina and then the British lady whose soothing voice usually lulls me back to sleep (I have caught her show during non-sleepy hours of the day and she’s actually quite adorable). This past Sunday was no different.

I have a little side job on the weekends working for an event coordinator (mostly high-end weddings, anniversaries and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs) and Saturday night was a doozy. I had been on my feet from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and so my ambitions for Sunday consisted of waking up, and potentially showering… if I felt up to it.

Anyway (sorry, got a bit sidetracked), there we were, lounging with the Food Network and learning about Giada’s “Everyday Lunches” when we got inspired. Giada is actually one of the few Food Network chefs that doesn’t irk me to watch (ahem, Rachael), and although her head may be slightly larger than most and her cleavage is always showing, the woman knows her food.

This particular episode was about quick, easy and tasty lunches and her recipe for Taleggio and Pear Panini is what really piqued my interest. By now you all know how I feel about cheese, and melted cheese on a sandwich is always up my alley. Add to that fruit, greens and a drizzle of honey and I’m basically in heaven. After a quick trip to Trader Joe’s (my big outing for the day), we decided to make our own version of this fantastic-sounding sandwich.

Admittedly, R did most of the work, but I kept a diligent eye out to make sure I could recreate it. The key to this sandwich is fresh ciabatta bread and a creamy cheese. We didn’t see taleggio, so we opted for brie instead (an excellent choice!). We also swapped out the pears for green apples to give it a more crisp crunch and added a slice of turkey for some protein. I’m a big fan of paninis in general, but I was fantastically satisfied by this gem.

Apple and Brie Panini
adapted from Giadia DeLaurentiis’ Taleggio and Pear Panini

Ingredients

1 long ciabatta loaf, fresh
1 green apple, thinly sliced
Honey
1 wedge brie
2 handfuls baby spinach
Olive oil
2 slices turkey (optional)

Directions

Cut ciabatta loaf in half and then slice each half open for sandwiches. Drizzle the inside of each piece with olive oil and place face down in a large skillet or pan. Heat on medium-low until warm and toasty. (NOTE: if you have a panini maker, you can skip this step.) Once heated through, spread generous portion of brie on one half of the sandwich. Place a few slices of apple on top of the brie and drizzle with honey. Finish with a handful of baby spinach and a slice or two of turkey. When fully constructed, place back in heated pan for a few minutes on both sides to get extra-melty. You can also utilize your panini maker if you have one.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Photo courtesy of flickr and timelas

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