The word “Panini” is Italian for sandwich, and if you are a big sandwich lover you could do well with having a Panini grill at hand. A Panini grill enables you to upgrade your simple sandwich into a hot, tasty and substantial meal. The use of a Panini grill will also allow you to cook without the use of additional fat, which is great for the calorie conscious. Here are some of the guidelines to remember when it comes to using a Panini grill:
- Know how to choose a Panini grill. A good Panini grill should be non-stick and coated for easier clean-ups; hinged so that it could correspond to the size of the sandwich that you are making; and appropriately-sized depending on your needs. It should also have a kind of timer or alarm mechanism that will let you know if the Panini is cooked and ready to eat.
- Choose the ingredients you will use. To make a Panini, you should use the following: rustic bread (stiff or crusty bread such as sourdough, wholegrain, Ciabatta, or any other dense bread); melted butter or margarine, or olive oil or canola oil; cheese (the best kinds for a Panini include Havarti cheese, mozzarella, Swiss or cheddar); the meat of your choice (chicken, pork, turkey, among others); the vegetables of your choice (spinach, lettuce, green pepper, mushroom); and any other add-on that you might want (mayonnaise, onions, basil, etc). Do make sure that you don’t put too many ingredients in your Panini, though; too many ingredients may result in a Panini that is overcooked on the outside and undercooked in the inside.
If you want to incorporate more fillings, dressings or sauces in your Panini, just make sure that you use denser types of bread – this will help you avoid a soggy sandwich.
- Put together your sandwich. Make sure that you cook the meat first before you put it in the sandwich. Some of the recommended Panini ingredients you could put together include the following: Havarti cheese, spinach and chicken; grilled pork sausage, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise; and tuna, tomato, mayonnaise and lettuce. For vegetarian options, you could try out the following: cream cheese and spinach; and tomato, mozzarella and basil.
- Brush some olive oil, margarine or melted butter on the outside of the sandwich. This will help make your Panini crispy and crunchy.
- Prepare the Panini grill. Preheat the Panini grill for a few minutes (wait until the timer goes off to indicate that it’s adequately heated). Once it’s heated, place the Panini inside the grill and close the latch. Thin slices of Panini are usually ready after about three to four minutes per side; thicker slices can be ready after 6 minutes per side. Make sure that you know whether your Panini grill requires you to flip the sandwich for both sides to be cooked; if you have bought a model that will grill both sides at the same time, you should adjust the time necessary to cook the Panini.
There you have it! These are some of the guidelines for using a Panini grill. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients that you want; just be sure to include cheese in the sandwich so that the bread slices will stick to each other better.