After extensive research, I finally bought a Panini press! I bought a Cuisinart Panini Griddler model GR-4N. The first night I made a simple cheese Panini to go with our bowls of Ham and Bean Soup. I didn’t want to look for recipes, I wanted crispy goodness NOW!
I had stopped by the grocery and found a rustic kalamata olive bread. I’m a huge fan of kalamata olives and putting them in bread sounded out of this word good. I just gasped. Grilled to crispness with cheese? I was drooling through the checkout lane. Walking out of the store afterwards in the -40 wind chill up North here with a damp chest is not a good idea. Just sayin’.
I pulled the griddle and plates out of the box and washed the plates before assembling my griddle. I plugged it in and figured out which dials to use to make a Panini. I’ll admit some manual-reading was required. I don’t often do that, but with 3 dials it wasn’t easy to guess at which knobs to use. With that finally set and warming, I turned to my bread.
I cut several slices of bread the normal thickness and spread butter on one side of each. Then I looked at it and said “Oh oh, did I butter the wrong side?” This required a little logic. I ended up flipping the buttered sides down so I could layer the cheese on the slices.
My P.S. (Patient Shopper/hubby) had picked up Swiss and Havarti for me on his last shopping trip. I’d written “sheets or chunks” after the entries on the list and he was annoyed with me. He’d called to ask if I wanted “slices”. Well yes, sheets or slices, same difference. He disagreed.
I decided to use slices of Havarti, because I’d planned to use Swiss for ham paninis soon. I folded and placed the cheese on the sandwiches then topped the cheese with the second slice of bread. I had butter sticking all over cutting board, but couldn’t figure out a way to avoid that.
The grill light was green so it was heated and ready. I carried the sandwiches over and place two on the ridged plates, then closed the floating lid down. I was too lazy to dig out the manual again to see a recommended timing, so I just watched them. And watched them. I thought this would be much faster.
I noticed that the panini knob had a “Sear” setting higher than the “High” they recommended for making paninis. I made a mental note to try that next time. I think it took about 5 or 6 minutes for the bread to be browned where the ridges were, and by then the Havarti was oozing out and all over the griddle plates. Yeah, I will try sear next time it’s just cheese that will melt fast!
But the sandwiches were so good! The crispy kalamata olive bread with creamy melted Havarti were my dream sandwiches. That sandwich alone made me happy I spent a small fortune on yet another appliance I need to find room for in my kitchen. They were even excellent dipped in the Pad Thai soup broth. We were thrilled with our dinner that evening.
Stay tuned, we will be gobbling more crispy sandwiches and posting them. You could of course make them almost as crispy in a nonstick skillet or a flat griddle pan on the stove.
Kalamata Havarti Grill-wiches
Slices of kalamata olive bread
Butter or margarine
Slices of Havarti cheese
Butter the outside slices of the bread and place butter side down on the cutting board. Layer the cheese on each half and place the second slice of bread on top.
Grill in a panini press or in a nonstick skillet or griddle pan until browned. Flip if using pans and brown on the second side.