I don't own a panini press (please don't send me one, I have no room to store it), but have always loved paninis.
Paninis are Italian pressed down sandwiches grilled to perfection.
Well, I make paninis for lunch all winter long. "How you do that Dacey?" my 3 year old neighbor asks.
It's easy. I have a large heavy grill pan (a cast iron skillet would do, but then you won't get the nice grill marks) and I use the heaviest All Clad pot lid that I own to weight it down.
Here comes the hard part.
You need some muscle, which I happen to have (6 ft. 5" tank living with me), to hold the press (lid) down on the sandwiches.
The results are perfect. All the ingredients meld together and become one. You'd never know that I cheated!
TODAY'S PANINI MENU:
Fresh mozzarella w/ roasted tomatoes and pesto on Italian loaf:
makes 3 sandwiches
1 fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
a few tbsp of pesto (jarred is fine, it's winter)
a few roasted tomatoes or roasted peppers from a jar (it's winter, still fine)
6 slices of good Italian ciabatta bread
Put a little olive oil in your grill pan. Heat on high and place your sandwiches on the pan. Place heavy lid on top of your sandwiches and press down hard!
When the bottom has grill marks and the cheese begins to melt, flip the sandwiches over with tongs. Press down the other side till cooked.
You will have a nice, gooey, cheesy, crispy, delicious sandwich.
What more can I say?