I’ve never met a sandwich that I didn’t like. Whether it’s a grilled cheese, a panini, a cheesesteak, a meaty sub, a gyro, a taco, or a burrito, if you stuff some sort of bread product with some sort of filling, I’m generally on board. What’s so great about sandwiches is that you can let your imagination run wild. There’s no limit to the combination of things you can sandwich between two pieces of bread. When I was little my Grandad used to make me peanut butter and bacon sandwiches – yes, you read that correctly, peanut butter and bacon. If you ever find yourself with left over bacon from breakfast, do yourself a favor, toast up some rye bread, spread it with peanut butter and lay a few strips of bacon over the top. I know it sounds odd, but you won’t be disappointed. Think about it. Creamy peanut butter, salty, crunchy bacon…it’s out of this world. When I’m feeling really nostalgic, I throw some shoe string potato chips on the side. They were my Grandad’s favorite. Just one bite of this sandwich and I’m seven years old again, sandy and sunburned, standing on my grandparents’ patio in the Hamptons, covered in peanut butter and happy as a clam. Ah, I love food memories.
But, I digress, because last night bacon and P.B. sammies weren’t on the menu. Instead it was the tried and true panini. I picked up some nice, crusty Italian bread, salami, prosciutto, and provolone. I was looking around the grocery store for something that would give the panini a little kick. First, I thought of thinly sliced red onions, then Matt suggested pesto, but I was really jones-ing for the salty, briny punch of some olive tapenade. I thought of getting some pitted olive salad from the deli counter and chopping it into oblivion. But I cheated and got some jarred olive bruschetta that was on sale. Sometimes it’s nice when others do the prep for you.
Once we got home, I quickly got to work assembling the sandwiches and squishing them in the George Foreman. Confession: I really only use my Foreman as a panini press, I don’t think it get’s hot enough to properly grill meat. Chicken comes out rubbery, steak is barely seared, and don’t even get me started on trying to do fish on that thing. I admire Mr. Foreman for his seamless transistion from boxer to cookware creator, but take it from me, keep your protein away from the Foreman and stick to making paninis!
A Liz-y Panin-i (it rhymes…kind of)
Thick sliced italian bread
Brush the outside of the bread slices with olive oil. Spread the olive bruschetta on the inside of each piece of bread, layer on the meats and cheese. Place sandwich in a grill press until golden brown and the cheese has melted.