Saturday, January 29, 2011

Panini Sandwich & Homemade Chips

Who doesn’t love a good Panini sandwich?  It’s the perfect way to jazz up a would-be ordinary sandwich, especially in winter when many of us crave a warm meal.  The sandwich featured here is a spicy Italian Panini and it works well with a variety of things that you probably have in the fridge.  I use Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.  Knoxvillians can find Boar’s Head at Kroger.  I’m not sure if any other local grocery stores carry it.
The chips are homemade and they really make the meal.  It’s certainly easier to open a bag of chips from the store, but I love being in charge of exactly what goes into my food.
What you'll need:
Thick slices of bread (I prefer a really good sourdough)
Salami slices
Pepperoni slices
Provolone cheese slices (Muenster works really well, too)
Spicy brown mustard
Banana pepper rings
Tomato slices
Onion slices
Italian seasoning

Potato Chips
Sunflower oil

To prepare the sandwich, apply the mayo and mustard to your bread.  Start with your meat and stagger the slices so that they hang off the side just a bit.  Put the cheese on top of the meat, staggering the slices again.  Next add your onion slices, then your peppers.  Place the tomato slices on top and sprinkle some of the Italian seasoning over them.  Top your sandwich with the remaining slice of bread.

If you don’t have your own Panini press (I don’t) there are a couple of other options for you.  I use my George Foreman grill.  You can also use a cast iron skillet with a grill press.  Once your bread begins to brown, remove the sandwich.  You don’t want to overcook it.

For the chips, I use the Ultimate Mandoline from The Pampered Chef to slice my potatoes.  Some other slicey tool will probably work equally well.  I don’t recommend using a knife, though, because your slices will likely be too thick.  I cut my potatoes in half and place them flat side down into the mandoline.  The more pressure I apply, the thicker my slices are.  I try for a not-too-thick but not-too-thin slice.  First-timers should experiment to see what they like best.  Just remember, thicker slices will need to cook a bit longer.

Heat your sunflower oil on the stove top (or in your deep fryer) while you are slicing your potatoes.  Make sure the grease is hot before dropping your chips in. Add them one at a time to prevent them from sticking together.  As the chips begin to turn brown, remove them from the grease and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Different types of potatoes are more chip-friendly than others.  Russet potatoes are not my favorite.  Try Yukon Gold instead.

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