Since my friend Alison was housebound last Friday with a bum foot, I went over to her house to make paninis with her roommates Amanda and Andrew. I brought my dog Rusty along for the fun too. He didn’t get to enjoy paninis, but I think he is now thoroughly traumatized by our visit to Chat Roulette. Although he did meet a cute pup from West Hollywood during our adventure.
I’m getting off topic…back to paninis. We chose to make mushroom fontina paninis. I purchased baby bella and cremini mushrooms from Trader Joe’s along with some shallots, french rolls, baby spinach, sweet potato fries, garlic fries, and chocolate bonbons for dessert. I also got some red zinfandel from Cline Cellars (also at Trader Joe’s).
To make the delectable melted sandwiches, we first sauteed the shallots in butter over medium heat and then added the mushrooms and about a tablespoon of tarragon. We cooked the mushroom/shallot mixture until softened. We brushed melted butter on the top and bottom half of the french rolls and then put a layer of fontina cheese slices on the bottom half of the roll. The cheese was covered in the mushroom mixture, followed by a layer of baby spinach and then some more fontina cheese. The sandwiches then went in the panini press at medium heat for about 7 or 8 minutes. The rolls were thick, so the cooking time was a little longer for these guys.
When I first took my fancy Breville panini press out of the box I thought, this isn’t much different from the George Foreman grill I purchased a couple years ago and I suddenly felt buyer’s remorse (even though it was a Birthday gift from my family - thank you FAMILY!). After our inaugural panini Friday, I know the panini press was well worth the purchase and I hope this becomes a weekly tradition. Melted, buttery goodness.