I saw a recipe for a Panini and had one of those “I wonder how that works!” moments. I will eat nearly anything between two pieces of bread. I am a huge sandwich fan. But this recipe was putting stuff on the OUTside of the bread. Butter with crushed tortilla chips. What!? Wouldn’t the chips get all soggy and greasy? How would this work?
I wanted to try this since I’m still on a Panini bender. The woman was a Panini expert, coming up with recipes I never would have thought to assemble. She used the butter/chips thing on a sandwich with bacon, cheese and guacamole. I found the recipe right after we ate the rest of the most amazing grapefruit guacamole. Darn, missed the chance.
But I wanted to try the chips thing so any kind of sandwich combo would do, really. I had ham and fresh peaches and provolone, topped with some romaine it would be a good test Panini. In hindsight, I should have used a different lettuce. The romaine was too tough and stringy to make a good Panini. I noted that in the recipe. No romaine. Spinach would be much better.
Making the chip butter was easy. I put 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave for 8 seconds several times until it had warmed but not melted. The recipe called for room temp butter and of course I was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait. I crushed regular tortilla chips and used about 4 tablespoons of crumbs. I mixed the butter and crumbs with a fork and it was a firm mix but not so difficult to blend.
I used a butter knife and spread the chip butter over the outsides of 4 slices of a rustic sourdough bread my P.S. (Pantry Supplier/hubby) had brought home. I laid them butter side down and assembled the sandwiches.
I spread Dijon mustard over the insides of the bread then layered provolone, ham, sliced ripe peaches on one side. I added the romaine leaves then another layer of provolone. I put the tops on the sandwiches and was ready to grill.
These were very high sandwiches! My Panini press was pretty high up for once, trying to handle its large load of sandwich goodness.
I let the sandwiches cook until there were darkened marks on the tops of the Panini. I peeked every few minutes, wondering how they were doing. When they were browned I used a spatula to remove the Panini to plates and cut them in half. They were super crispy and cutting was not easy!
But the cheese had melted and oozing out and I couldn’t wait to take a bite. The juice from the very juicy peaches ran down my hand and onto my lap. Oops, lean forward over the plate to eat if you put peaches on a Panini! The fruit lent a great flavor to the ham and cheese but does make a mess.
The crispiness of the bread was just so fun! I found myself wishing there had been some seasoning in the chip butter as well; maybe a little cumin, or oregano, maybe a pinch of cayenne. The crisp part was fun and the sandwich ingredients themselves were very flavorful. It just seemed like the crispy bread should have had some flavor too. But for a weekend lunch, it was an amazing treat! I would so do this again, it was quick and easy.
Extra Crispy Panini
4 tablespoons butter; room temp
4 tablespoons tortilla chips; finely crushed
Seasonings to taste (I suggest large pinches of cumin, oregano, cayenne, chili powder, etc)
4 slices of bread (I used a rustic sourdough)
Slices of ham
Slices of provolone
Slices of fresh ripe peaches
Leaf lettuce or fresh spinach leaves (no Romaine!)
Mix butter and chips and any seasonings you desire in a small bowl. Spread on 4 slices of bread.
Turn bread over and spread with Dijon mustard to taste.
Layer provolone, ham, peaches, lettuce or spinach, and more provolone. Place bread on top of sandwich and place on Panini griddle. Cook until dark brown marks on slices of bread.
Cut in half and serve warm.
Note: you can also use a skillet or griddle on the stove, flipping when the bottom side is suitable browned.
Makes 2 Panini
Adapted from Panini Happy