Since I have gotten more and more into cooking and trying new recipes as a hobby, there have been certain cookware and other kitchen accessories that I have needed. Two things that I had been wanting for a long time were a grill pan and a panini maker. While browsing grill pans online, I found the perfect thing: a Le Creuset grill pan and panini press, sold as a set. Obviously, I purchased the set and Ben and I both think this was a great kitchen investment. We made these paninis to break in our new cookware and we couldn’t be happier with it. These two things are really versatile and I think they will add a lot to what we are able to do in our kitchen.

These paninis were great! I feel funny calling any sandwich a “recipe” because measurements really don’t apply, but I did get this recipe from Williams Sonoma. These were a great way to take advantage of the very large basil plant growing in my herb garden. The only change I will make next time will be to add a little bit of minced garlic to each sandwich, because let’s face it, garlic is awesome :) Also, I omitted the mayo from their recipe because I don’t think that really goes with this type of sandwich. This may go without saying but I think it is important to use thick, dense bread for paninis (more than just your average loaf from the grocery store) so that it holds up well to the panini press.

Caprese Panini
2 slices country-style bread, each 1/2 inch thick
Olive oil for brushing
2 slices mozzarella cheese
3 tomato slices
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 fresh basil leaves

Preheat an electric panini maker or panini press according to the manufacturers instructions.

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface. Place the cheese on one slice and top with the tomato slices. Drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Top with the basil, then with the other bread slice, oiled side up.

Place the sandwich on the preheated panini maker and cook according to the manufacturers instructions until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately. Serves 1.