Summer has officially arrived and New York City is definitely feeling the heat. Our first heat wave set in yesterday and it is expected to last through today and tomorrow. Upon stepping outside, at first it feels like a gentle embrace by the heat of the sun, but about 30 seconds later, it feels like a hug from a stinky, sweaty, obnoxious third cousin who seems very happy to see you since last year and refuses to let go!
It is disgusting.
When it is too hot to cook a big dinner at home and you don’t want to order in, omelets and sandwiches are ideal. But of course no one wants to have a soggy, limp, cold sandwich after a long day of work, and that’s where panini come in. Fact: “Panini” = plural, “panino” = singular. And don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy panini press to make them. All you need is a grill pan, which almost every household has these days, and a heavy pot or pan.
This recipe also features pistou – the French equivalent of the Italian pesto, usually sans pine nuts or cheese. I made mine in a food processor but I kind of had a hard time. I could not get the sauce to be fine and smooth the way it’s meant to be, but I think that was because I failed to properly dry the leaves prior to working with them. Do you have any idea where I went wrong?
(Yield: 2 sandwiches)
4 slices of bread
About 6 slices deli ham
2 tbsp goat cheese, softened
1 tomato, thinly sliced
About 2 tbsp pistou (recipe follows*)
Olive oil, for the grill
Procedure: Place a grill pan over medium heat. Dip a piece of paper towel into olive oil and rub on grill. Spread goat cheese on two slices of bread and set aside. Spread pistou on remaining slices. Top with ham and tomatoes and close sandwiches. Place sandwiches on grill and top with a heavy pot or pan (this presses down on the sandwich so they compress and grill marks appear). Flip sandwiches after two min and replace pan on top. Serve immediately.
*Pistou: Combine 1 cup of dry basil leaves and 1 roughly chopped garlic clove in a food processor. Pulse to start breaking down leaves. Add a pinch of salt and about 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Leave processor running until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency.