Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Swap - Balsamic Caprese Panini

Oh caprese, how I love you. I kinda have a thing for all things caprese, in case you haven't noticed.

So I was, of course, thrilled when I received my recipe for the Burger/Sandwich Swap. Not only was it one of my good friend Jaida's recipes, it was something I've had my eye on every since she posted it. The Balsamic Caprese Panini combines my love of caprese ingredients with the tang of balsamic vinegar and the crunch of crispy bread. I couldn't wait to make it.

Like Jaida, I had some trouble with this sandwich. I used a nice, crusty roll to combat the wetness of the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, but I had forgotten to take the roll out of the freezer before I started cooking so that was problem #1. Problem #2 arose when I got careless. I was patting myself on the back, proud of how well my sandwich was cooking in a skillet with a brick to weigh it down. Then, since everything was going so well, I walked across the kitchen to clean up a bit and the next thing I knew the brick was sliding, taking the top half of the sandwich with it. I managed to salvage the sandwich, and it was positively delicious, but not exactly photogenic. No matter. I had plenty of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil and I planned to try again for lunch another day.

The photos are attempt #2 and as you can see it was still a mess. Ingredients sliding every which way. This is a messy sandwich, folks. The juicy tomatoes and moisture in fresh mozzarella conspire against you. I tried adding more cheese so I could have three layers to sort of glue everything together, but that didn't work. You could maybe shred the fresh mozzarella instead of slicing it or just make it and deal with the mess.

I made only one modification and that was to swap the oil for a little mayo. I used about 1 tablespoon for my sandwich and mixed it with the balsamic to create a balsamic mayo. Holy yum, folks. Thankfully I had a little leftover to dip my sandwich in. I'm trying to think of other ways to use balsamic mayo, perhaps on a sandwich with some arugula and proscuitto?

Big thanks to Jaida for an awesome sandwich recipe!

Balsamic Caprese Panini
Slightly Modified from Sweet Beginnings
Makes 1 sandwich

4 slices of tomato (I used beefsteak tomatoes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
A splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mayo
3 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
9 basil leaves, stems removed
2 slices crusty bread
Cooking spray

Sprinkle the tomato slices with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine the mayo and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Spread half the mayo on each slice of bread (if you have leftover, you can dip the sandwich into it later). Place alternating layers of tomato and mozzarella slices on the bottom bun (2 layers of each). Place the basil leaves on top and top with the other bread slice.

Heat a skillet or panini press over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and place the sandwich in gently. Spray the exposed slice of bread with more cooking spray, then top with a sheet of tin foil. Weigh down the sandwich with a heavy skillet, a brick covered with tin foil (what I used) or a plate with some cans stacked on top. Cook 5 minutes, watching the sandwich carefully as the contents will shift as they cook. Flip over and repeat on the second side.

Cut in half and serve.
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  1. It is a messy one, but oh-so-delicious! I'm glad you liked it. And I LOVE the addition of mayo - especially with the balsamic mixed in it!!



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