Whenever my brother comes home from the States is always good news to me. Well of course that's mainly because I can get to see him and hang out, but more importantly - in a way - he can also help bring me goodies from the States that I cannot get locally. Why need Amazon when there's a personal delivery available?
I saw this cast-iron panini press online a few months ago and actually went around local kitchenware stores to see if they carry it. But either they have no idea what I am talking about, or only have those really bulky electric models (like those George Foreman type). So as my brother's coming back for a short trip last week, I just have Amazon sent it to his home and he brought that back to me. This one made by Lodge, an American company specializes in cast-iron cookware, is just perfect for those who already owned a ribbed grill pan. Now the grill pan can double as a panini maker and open up a whole new set of possibilities for casual cooking.
This is perhaps the simplest version of panini one can cook - essentially a fancy ham-and-egg sandwich toast. But that's exactly the hearty breakfast I want on this beautiful Saturday before we set out on a day-long wedding celebration for a very good friend of ours (I will get to that on a separate post later, maybe)
Bread - I used wheat bread as I happened to have half a loaf sitting in the kitchen. But anything will do - white, rye, multi-grain... or even brioche, focaccia or baguette if you are fancy. Or even bake your own! Grilling/Toasting is the best way to revive any bread that is going stale.
2 Eggs - beaten
Bacon - 2 to 3 pieces (or pancetta)
Ham - 1 slice
Cheese - 2 slices of mozzarella (or any soft cheeses such as brie or cheddar)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Fried the bacon in the skillet until browned and crispy. Drain off extra grease in paper towel and set aside.
2. Clean the pan, heat butter in the skillet, pour the beaten eggs in, cook, flip and fold until set.
3. Pre-heat the ribbed grill pan and the panini press at the same time in open flame, until both are red-hot (to test, put your palm close to the grill pan and if you can barely bear the heat, it's ready).
4. Place a piece of bread on the grill pan, than layer with ham, cheese, egg, bacon and another piece of bread. Grind some salt and pepper in, and put the panini press on top of the sandwich in the pan (use the oven glove!)
5. The ribbed surface of the grill pan and panini press, coupled with the weight of the press, will help heat the sandwich while leaving sexy grill marks on the panini. Leave that for 3-4 minutes and you are set. For a more complete breakfast, serve with potatoes, grilled tomatoes or something.
There are limitless options for panini - you can do it with grilled chicken, prosciutto, roast beef, toss in some veggies and cheeses, or basically anything that makes a good hot sandwich. See, told ya, Panini press is a "must-have" item in every kitchen! Thanks e for bringing this back for me.