Is there anything more comforting than crispy, crunchy, lightly toasted bread with a few simple, yet perfect, ingredients between them?
First, a quick language lesson. Panino is Italian for a sandwich, or more literally “little bread.” Panini is the plural. (Don’t get us started on one tamal, two tamales, either!) Panini can be hot or cold. But come on, everybody loves the hot ones! Fuhggetaboutit!
Crafting the perfect sandwich is easy, but takes some careful construction.
The first rule is editing. A panino is not about a ton of things stuffed between bread--just a few simple, well-chosen ones that go together well. A slice of dry, salty Prosciutto with some fresh, creamy mozzarella and a little basil oil; some goat cheese and fig jam; sautéed greens and Gruyere; Sopressata (a wine cured salami) with aged provolone and arugula. (Sometimes the best dish is made not by what is in it, but what is left out.)
Applying heat. Slow, even heat is the key to getting nice toasty bread, thoroughly warmed ingredients and melty cheese. Depending what is in your sandwich, some pressure can be applied, but too much and you have a mess on your hands. Well, actually in the pan or your panini press.
Do you really need a panini press to make a panini? Not really. Any good pan will do. Is it worth getting a panini press? Absolutely! Especially if you make sandwiches a lot. (Sandwiches do make great quick and easy dinners and you can put in them whatever you want--solving the picky eater problem!) A panini press heats quickly, evenly and efficiently, getting both sides at once. Plus, you can use it for grilling veggies to put on your panini as well! One of our favorites is a sandwich of eggplant grilled (on the press) with za’atar and a spread made from walnuts and labneh, a thick yogurt cheese.
We love the Breville Panini Duo because of the articulated top (doesn’t squish the filling out and toasts the top evenly!), it’s easy clean up and the flat bottom plate.
Why Does the Breville Panini Duo Have a Flat Bottom?
This is actually something we questioned when they came in. Grill marks are pretty when presenting your sandwich, but the flat bottom plate does a better job at even cooking, which will ensure your cheese is perfectly melty. This way, you get the best of both worlds.
Consider the bread
There are many great types of breads out there, but not all of them will make great hot panini. Save the country-style crusty breads for your cold sandwiches; when heated those nice crunchy crusts will become shards in your mouth making for an unpleasant experience. The secret to great panini lies in using softer, less crusty breads. But not when it is fresh! Day old bread will actually toast up nicer than fresh bread because the moisture content is lower.
Breville Panini Duo!
We're celebrating sandwiches all month and what better way to make your sandwiches than with this great machine!
Go to our Facebook page for Toque Blanche or Chefworks and tell us about your favorite sandwich for a chance to win one! (Winner chosen at random toward the end of the month for those who commented on the post.)
We'll be making paninis all month! Check out our list of weekly demonstrations here.