The Sensitive Kitchen

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tuscan Grilled Vegetable Paninis

My family and I drove north last weekend to relax on the grass in the shade of towering elm trees and enjoy a 12-hour day of performing arts. I knew that, once we'd spread our blanket, none of us would want to leave it. And yet we'd have to eat. Solution: panini sandwiches!

I don't think there's a better picnic lunch out there than panini. This recipe makes approximately 8 sandwiches, which will keep quite nicely for a few hours, wrapped in foil, while you are heading to your location of choice. We rounded out our meal with fresh grapes, pistachios, and sparkling water.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp mixed Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
Salt and pepper
3 small zucchini, cut in strips lengthwise
4 Quorn cutlets (feel free to use chicken if you're not a vegetarian), cut in half to be thinner
1 loaf crusty artisan bread
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
A few handfuls of large basil leaves, or 1/2 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup olive tapenade
1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
4 ounces fresh young goat cheese (I used a variety with figs)

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Place zucchini and Quorn in single layer, press out air and seal bag. Let stand 20 minutes or so.

Preheat panini press to HIGH. Cook zucchini until softened and seared with grill marks. Repeat with Quorn. Set ingredients aside.

ingredients ready to assemble

Separate bread into sandwich pairs. On inside of one half of each sandwich pair, spread goat cheese; on other inside, spread olive tapenade. On top of the olive half, layer zucchini, Quorn, roasted red peppers and basil, placing provolone slices strategically to keep sandwich glued together when pressed.

layered goodness

Place goat cheese top on each sandwich, goat cheese side down.

put the lid on and press that sucker

Grill sandwiches until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Let cool, then cut each sandwich in half and wrap in foil. Enjoy your picnic!

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