When it comes to preparing the best Panini, grilled, stuffed, and perfectly pressed ones are kings. My personal favorite is usually filled with creamy avocados, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, then topped with some crispy bacon. Now tell me what could be better than this simple recipe. Anyway;
How do you make the best Panini?
Well, let us start with the ingredients required.
- 2 tablespoons of fresh pesto
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 8 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
- 8 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes that have been cut into ¼ inch thick slices
- 2 avocadoes that have been quartered, pitted, cut, and peeled into thin strips
- 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
Once you have all these ingredients ready, it is time to skip to the directions on how to assembly a perfect Panini.
- Start by cooking the bacon until it becomes crispy and brown. After this, set it on a paper towel to drain.
- Combine the pesto and mayonnaise then slather the pesto mayo combination on your bread.
- Top the combination with bacon, tomato, avocado, and mozzarella cheese slices.
- Brush olive oil on top of the bread so it does not stick while you are grilling it.
- Grill using a Panini press until the cheese is sufficiently melted and the bread is crispy and brown.
- If you do not own a Panini press, you can simply grill the Panini in a frying pan by placing another pan on top of it so it can press down.
Tips to remember if you want to prepare a perfect Panini
1. Greens go last
Do you love adding lettuce to all your Paninis but cannot stand having them wilt during the grilling process? Well, I’m going to offer you a great solution that has been working for me just fine. The trick is, ‘stick them all last.’
Grill your Panini and then insert every other thing you would like to keep leafy right before serving the meal. These include cilantro, arugula, spinach, lettuce, just to name a few.
2. Host Panini parties
One of the best ways to surely know if your Paninis are hitting the mark you would like them to hit is to share them with family and friends. Invest in a wide selection of fillings and loaves of bread, fire up your grill, and then allow your friends and family to create their own Panini combinations.
You might even come out with some new interesting ideas you can try in your free time.
3. Cut the Panini using a straight-edged knife
A sharp and straight-edged knife will ensure that your finished Panini is smoothly separated. At no point should you consider using a serrated one to do the cutting.
4. Keep round tops turned in
If you want to try grilling round-topped bread types such as baguettes, then you will realize that it can be a challenge to keep them from constantly rolling over and spilling all the contents of your Panini. The best way to deal with this annoying situation is to use a trick I was recently taught by my grandma.
Instead of grilling them as they are, turn the round-topped loaves of bread inside out such that the flat surfaces are the ones making contact with the grill. Genius, isn’t it?
5. Be careful while using wet ingredients
Needless to say, none of us like a soggy sandwich – and unfortunately, most of the great fillings that we enjoy on our regular non grilled sandwiches, like juicy meats and tomatoes, most of the times are not ideal candidates for Panini, particularly if you are trying to attain crispiness.
Having said that, does this mean that all fillings are out of the question entirely? Well, of course not. All you need to do is come up with tricks that will allow you to contain the excess moisture. A great trick you can employ is adding panko breadcrumbs to the fish ingredient or removing seeds from your tomatoes.
Another impressive trick I heard of recently involves placing all the wet ingredients in the center of the sandwich. Ensure you do not have direct contact with the bread slices.
6. Always go for the crunch
What do you think, what separates ‘regular’ sandwiches from Paninis? The answer is, it is the grilling. Grilled bread is basically the hallmark of Panini, so I urge you to ensure that you make the most of it by brushing melted butter or olive oil on top for a crostini-like crunch.
And in case you are trying to save yourself a few calories, I recommend spraying butter-flavored cooking sprays. I came across all these ideas I’m sharing with you during my research sessions on different online forums and platforms.
7. Feel free to experiment with a wide array of fillings and bread types
Simply because the Panini delicacy originated in Italy does not mean that you need to limit yourself to mozzarella, focaccia, or any other Italian ingredients. And this includes savory ingredients as well. As long as it has fillings and bread and has been prepared using a grill, then it is a Panini.
I urge you to step out of your comfort zone and try pieces of bread like biscuits and pita, dessert recipes, and fillings such as apples and mango salsa. Let your taste buds become your guides and have fun with the process.
8. Choose your grilling method wisely
As I learned the hard way, not all Panini grilling methods end up yielding the same results. I recommend Panini presses because even though they are the most expensive options, they are the easiest to use and they offer you great control over pressure and heat.
If you are experienced enough to use a skillet and/or a grill pan, then feel free to go for it as well. Just ensure you experiment with different grilling methods to see which one delivers the best results for you.
If you do not already own one of these masterpieces, then all you need to do to start enjoying these delicacies is go through this guide and pick the best Panini press you think will accommodate your home’s needs and requirements.
At the end of the guide, I’ve also mentioned my favorite pick from the list to help you make a final, educated decision.