For a long time now, K and I have longed for a Panini press but it was one of those things that we just never got around to buying. A few weeks ago, with Christmas money in hand, we headed straight to William Sonoma and brought one home. Such a fun kitchen appliance – it has been working overtime. One of my new favorite meals: a Caprese Panini.
I’m a big fan of Caprese salads. There is something so fresh and light about the simple combination of basil, tomato, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar. Slap a couple of pieces of fresh bread around it, heat it through with a Panini press, and I’ll swoon. That has now been proven.
We assembled the ingredients:
Fresh basil, Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and thick slices of bread. We also considered adding some turkey but decided to keep it strictly Caprese.
K was the assembler and layered all the ingredients (except the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil) on the bread. Meanwhile, he had a cup of balsamic vinegar reducing on very low heat on the stove. It reduced to about half a cup and we had a lot leftover, so you could get by with reducing less if you don’t want to be using the remaining for days (although it does keep – just store it in an airtight container in the fridge). K then poured the reduced balsamic vinegar over the other ingredients.
Sprinkle the Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on top. Drizzle a little olive oil on top too – just for good measure. Stand back and admire the colors and the enticing smell of reduced balsamic vinegar and basil.
Set the assembled sandwiches gently on the Panini press and let it work its Panini magic. The result – lovely marks on the bread, melted mozzarella, and warm fresh veggies. Delicious and a delightful taste of summer – even in the middle of winter.