No Press? No Problem!

panini 10I’m not a gadget person but there’s some kitchen tools out there that are super helpful and should basically be a staple in your kitchen. By that I mean, a good blender, nice knives, a KitchenAid stand mixer (if you can afford it!). I didn’t get one of those until a couple of years ago and OMG why did I wait so long to get one?!?! Oh, wait, reference the prior statement in parentheses. They’re so damn expensive!!! But absolutely worth it!

Anyways, I’m not the type that needs a little tool for this and that. Give me a sharp knife and I can most likely do whatever that thing advertises. But there’s always that one kitchen item that you really want and just haven’t bought because it’s not a necessity. That for me has been a Panini press. I’ve had one of those things in an online cart too many times to remember, only to back out. First off, it really isn’t a need, it’s a want. Second, I have a pretty small kitchen with very little storage. My cabinets are FULL! So much so, that I’ve resorted to storing lots of kitchen stuff out in the garage cabinets.

So I’ve made due with what I have. And maybe you don’t even have what I use to make my “Faux-ninis” but I’ve got another suggestion that will absolutely work for you. Here goes…

Use a cast iron griddle pan! You know, the ones with the raised lines on them? Yep. That’s the one. You’ll get those cool lines on your fauxnini! But if you don’t have one, a regular cast iron will work or any type of pan, non stick preferred for this. But what about the press you ask? I’ve got that covered too.

panini 5See, all you need is another pan filled with a bunch of canned goods and voila, Panini without the “press”! You still get crunch and flat like goodness of a Panini. Without another tool taking up space in your kitchen.

Here’s the recipe for the type of Panini I made.

Caprese Panini

  • 2 tbsp. mayo
  • 2 tbsp. prepared pesto
  • 1/2 loaf of ciabatta bread
  • 2 slices pepperjack cheese
  • 1/4 c. shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

Heat your griddle pan over medium heat on your stove. Cast iron takes a little longer to heat up so while you assemble the sandwich is a good time to heat it up. Mix together the mayo and pesto to make a “pesto mayo”. Slice the loaf in half and spread the mayo on each side. On one side, lay the two slices of pepperjack. Add all the tomatoes to make sure it covers the loaf, then top with the shredded Italian blend. Place the other slice of bread on top. (Do as I say, not as I do in my pictures!) Place into a Panini press, or in my case, my fauxnini press. Place a pan filled with canned items to make it heavy and set on top of the Panini. Let cook for 3-5 minutes or until browned and crisp on one side. Remove the pan, flip the Panini over and place pan back on top. Let cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and slice on the diagonal.

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