Lunch was a quick cheese steak panini on my new pan. I am so happy that I've finally figured out the intricacies of panini making; it's best to use a thick, crusty bread & wrap it in foil before pressing!
For one sandwich, you'll need:
1/2 onion, peeled & sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1 ciabatta roll
3 or 4 thin slices of steak or roast beef (I used cajun roast beef from the deli)
4 slices provolone cheese
salt & pepper
- First, saute the onion & pepper (seasoned with a pinch of salt & a few grounds of black pepper) in a tad of olive oil until soft & slightly browned. Remove from heat. (I also seasoned mine with dash or two of Emeril's seasoning.)
- Put a panini or grill pan on the stove over medium heat to get hot. If you're using a pan with a press, put the press in the pan to heat also. If you don't have a press, get out a heavy cast-iron skillet, a big heavy canned good, or a brick.
- Cut the roll in half and fill with 2 slices of cheese, the meat, a spoonful of the veggies, and the remaining slices of cheese. Wrap tightly in foil.
- Place the sandwich on the hot pan and weigh down with the lid or other such heavy object. Leave for 5 minutes.
- Flip the sandwich, replace weight, and leave another 5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and check to see if the bread is crispy & browned (a few blackened grill marks are more than okay) and the cheese is melted. If it's not, rewrap and leave on hot grill (with burner turned off) under the press for a few more minutes.
- Mash three cloves of garlic & a small pinch of kosher salt to a smooth paste. (I used a mortar & pestle.)
- Saute the garlic and 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. You want to gently cook the garlic. Don't let it brown. And be careful not to breathe right over the pot. Wowza! It's very pungent; stings the nostrils.
- Add about 2 ounces of stale, crusty bread cut into bite-sized chunks. (I used half of a demi baguette that I bought a couple days ago.) Stir to coat bread with the garlicky oil. Don't worry if the garlic is starting to stick to the pan; as long as it's not browning, you're okay.
- Add 1 small can of reduced-sodium chicken stock OR 2 cups homemade chicken stock. Stir to deglaze the pan.
- Season with a couple cranks of black pepper, a pinch of dried oregano & thyme...but taste it before adding salt.
- Heat until it's just about to boil. You don't want to cook it too long, because the bread will get too soggy. Cook it just so it is hot enough to eat.
- Pour into a bowl & top with shredded Parmesan cheese and--if desired--a bit of chopped parsley. Eat while it's steaming.