Sunday dinner: Chicken, fig and arugula panini

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Thanks to my Christmas present, Sundays have become panini night here at Al Dente HQ. I think that it’s two-fold: we’re catching up for all of the years that we didn’t have a panini press and, let’s face it, it’s an excuse to melt cheese.

I think that the world would be a better place with more melted cheese. Why do kids love pizza? Melted cheese. Why are omelets better than straight-up scrambled eggs? Melted cheese. Why are vegans always so cranky? No melted cheese. See where I’m going?

2013-02-17 at 17-45-00This has been on my Pinterest wall of things to cook for a while now. My worry was always fig jam. I should have known better. I was wandering through the ethnic foods section at Wegmans, en route to cans of Goya beans, when I thought I’d check out the  British cuisine area. I know, oxymoron…British cuisine. Right? Anyhow, in between the Weetabix and Coleman’s Mustard was fig jam. Score one for Wegmans.

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WHAT WORKED: Brie. Always brie. One of these days, I’m going to make something with brie and pancetta and blow my own mind.

WHAT DIDN’T: Touching the grill. That things gets really hot.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. Frankly, so was I. Everything worked well together: the sweet fig jam, creamy brie and peppery arugula.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Hell yes, if only because I have a huge jar of fig jam and no other purpose for it.

2013-02-17 at 17-55-24Chicken, fig and arugula panini
From Panini Happy

  • 1 baguette, divided into 4 portions
  • 1/3 cup fig jam
  • 1/2 pound carved or sliced chicken breast
  • 1/2 pound Brie, sliced (I spread it on the bread as I’m not a big fan of the white crust of the cheese)
  • 1/2 cup arugula

Heat the panini maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

For each sandwich: Slice off the dome of the baguette to create a flat grilling surface. Divide the baguette in half lengthwise to create top and bottom halves. Spread a few tablespoons of fig jam inside each baguette half. On one side, layer a few slices of Brie, a small handful of arugula and a few slices of chicken. Close the sandwich with the other baguette half. Grill the panini until the cheese is melted and bread is toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. (Note: I went 10 minutes just because it was a little crowded on the grill and I like my cheese extra melty.)

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