Sunday dinner: Antipasti panini

2013-03-10 at 17-16-49The Wife has a complaint about Panini Sundays, our recently introduced dinner routine. Apparently, the sodium content of the meats, cheese and toppings has caused her to be thirsty after dinner. I’m not going to lie. Very little of what comes off the panini maker is truly healthy.

Processed deli meats? Full of sodium and additives. Cheese? Lots of fat. The bread? Lots of starch and carbs. These aren’t complaints from me, though sodium, saturated fat and carbs are the three pillars of my childhood diet. And my teenage diet. And my college diet. And the diet of my 20s. And…nevermind.

The antipasti course takes many forms in the Italian diet. Primarily, its a combination of cured and brined vegetables like olives, peppers, artichokes and other wonderfully salty things. It can also include cured meats like salami and capicola, and cheese. Add them all together on a piece of crusty Italian bread and press on a panini grill, and you have this week’s Panini Sunday feature.

2013-03-10 at 16-51-30WHAT WORKED: The pureed kalamata olives and artichokes. I ground these down with my immersion blender before spreading on the bread. It was far to runny to be a tapenade, but worked in a pinch.

WHAT DIDN’T: I burned my hand on the damn panini grill again. I’m really a menace to myself.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I think we covered that already.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, probably with a different combination of meats, cheeses and olives.

2013-03-10 at 16-59-57Antipasti panini
By Jared Paventi

  • Five artichoke hearts in brine, drained and stems trimmed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, adjusted to your preference
  • Loaf of crusty Italian bread cut into two equal-sized pieces and split in half. (Wegmans is making an awesome ciabatta baguette these days. A regular ciabatta would work as well.)
  • 1/3 lb. Genoa salami
  • 1/4 lb. ham (I had deli ham in the fridge, but you could use capicola, hot ham, or anything else here)
  • 1/4 lb. provolone
  • 1/4 cup of white tuna in water
  • roasted red peppers
  • flavor-infused olive oil (garlic or herb will work best)

Preheat your panini grill per the manufacturer’s instructions.

2013-03-10 at 16-45-54Add olives and artichoke hearts to a blender or immersion blender cup. Pulse until well blended. Spread a thin layer of the olive-artichoke mixture on the bottom piece of bread. Add even layers of ham, then salami, then cheese, and finally tuna fish. Top with roasted red peppers.

2013-03-10 at 16-55-26Brush the inside of the top piece of bread with the olive oil. Place on top of the sandwich, then brush the exterior of the top piece with a thin layer of oil.

Add to panini grill, press the lid down and cook 8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

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