A panini is any kind of pressed and toasted sandwich, and it tends to get thought of as a glorified grilled cheese sandwich by many people. They’re popular, and there is a huge variety of sandwich makers that you can pick up to press and toast your sandwiches at home. You’ll see them on restaurant menus frequently, too. While you can certainly make grilled cheese with a panini maker, the panini offers a much wider range of possibilities than a simple grilled cheese. In Panini Express: 70 Delicious Recipes Hot Off the Press, you’ll find dozens of recipes that showcase just how versatile a simple panini sandwich can be.
The cookbook opens with a little food for thought in the introduction, discussing how to pick a good press, what kind of bread should be used and how to assemble the filling ingredients to make for a memorable sandwich. From there, the book gets into the recipes. The first two chapters are dedicated to bread and condiments, all made from scratch. The third chapter is where you’ll find the paninis. From Manchego, Chorizo and Caramelized Onions to Barbecue Chicken with Bleu Cheese and Celery, the recipes cover a whole range of flavors and there is something for everyone. The dessert sandwiches include Bread and Chocolate, and Nutella French Toast, and they are enough to open up your mind to the possibility of paninis for something sweet, as well as savory. The photography is excellent and all of the sandwiches presented in the book look mouthwatering. In fact, it might just be best to flip through the book on a full stomach the first time you get it, unless you already have your panini maker out and ready to go!
You’ll get the most use out of this book if you have a panini press, though it is possible to make the sandwiches without one by using heavy skillets and toasting the sandwiches on the stovetop. Fortunately, panini makers aren’t that expensive and are widely available, and with a book like this one to get you started, you know that you will get a lot of use out of one of them. The recipes for homemade breads, sauces and garnishes also do not require the use of a panini maker, but are an easy place to start when you want to elevate your sandwiches, whether you’re making paninis or not.
Nick BeardJuly 2, 2012
So reading through the book, Nicole, would you say the recipes are the kind of thing you could easily throw on when you come home from work?