GINNA PARSONS: Panini night on menu for summer

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I sat down on the couch in the living room to hammer out a supper menu for the week.
Charlie suggested fish tacos, BLTs, and Cornish game hens with wild rice. I chimed in with meatloaf and tomato pie, burgers with corn on the cob, and chicken sausage with peppers and pasta.
We were still one meal short.
“What have we not had in a while that we really like?” he said.
I thought a minute, then answered, “Paninis.”
We make paninis, or hot pressed sandwiches, on an electric griddle I gave Charlie for Christmas two years ago. Before he got that, we put the sandwiches in a hot cast-iron skillet and covered them with another skillet to “press” them as they cooked. I think you can also make them in a George Foreman grill.
I vaguely recalled a panini cookbook I’d received a few years ago and went in search of it. On a shelf in the kitchen, I found “200 Best Panini Recipes” by Tiffany Collins.
I opened the cookbook and started flipping through the offerings … Turkey and Brie Panini with Mushroom Pesto … Beef, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Panini … Cheddar, Ham and Apple Panini.
The choices were endless and mouth-watering. I finally announced that, during the summer, we would be having “Panini Night” every week.
First up is the Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Red Pepper and Pepper Jack Panini. I can’t wait for Thursday!

Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Red Pepper and Pepper Jack Panini
2 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1⁄2-inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 ciabatta rolls
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, sliced
1⁄2 cup baby spinach leaves
1⁄4 cup roasted red bell peppers
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Arrange on bottom grill plate, close the top plate and grill until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Wipe grill plates clean.
Place rolls, cut side down, on a work surface and brush crusts with oil. Turn rolls over and, on bottom halves, evenly layer with grilled chicken, cheese, spinach and roasted pepper. Cover with top halves and press gently to pack. Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serves 2.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.