Portobello, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil Panini
We set out to find a way to make these grilled Italian sandwiches without a panini press or an indoor grill.
Why This Recipe Works
Italians have it right when it comes to sandwiches: They load meat, cheese, and flavorful condiments between slices of crusty bread and then compact the sandwich in a heated, ridged press. But we wanted a panini recipe we could make without using either a panini press or an indoor grill. To achieve the signature ridged grill marks, we used a nonstick grill pan as the base and the weight of a Dutch oven on top. A rustic 8-inch loaf (often called a boule) with a crusty exterior and substantial, slightly chewy crumb worked best in this panini recipe—softer sandwich breads tended to flatten into an undesirable thinness. The correct ratio of meat to cheese is key to this panini recipe. These amounts make for a panini with cheese that melts around the filling without becoming messy. Brushing the outside of the bread with butter or oil didn’t work well here; it just made the bread greasy. We pressed these sandwiches without any fat for the proper crispy, toasted texture.