I got a message from my friend Aviva in Israel yesterday saying that she found my blog and was loving it. Only thing, is that she wanted more vegetarian options for recipes. However I guess her dad is pleased with my meat recipes!! LOL
So I was thinking about a veggie based recipe that Aviva could enjoy, and since my friend Angela from Miami was coming over for lunch I decided to come up with up with a Veggie panino! (Panino is singular for Panini. Panini which we are used to in the U.S. really means something closer to a plate of different sandwiches in Italian. So since I only made one, I am calling it a panino!)
It came out delicious!!! I didn't serve it with any side dish. Just a dollop of Dijon!
Here is my no recipe recipe that I made for Angela but I am dedicating it to my far away friend Aviva! Love you and miss you!!!! (don't worry Angela! I love you too!!!)
Here is what you'll need:
A bunch of fresh Cilantro
One clove of garlic
One yellow squash
One loaf of ciabatta bread
One ball of fresh mozzarella
One heaping tablespoon of fresh parsley
White wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
First I made a quick Cilantro Pesto.
In a food processor I combined a handful of fresh cilantro, on small clove of garlic, salt, pepper, 2 quick turns around the processor of white wine vinegar, and about 5 quick turns of extra virgin olive oil. Then let the food processor do it's thing and combined all the ingredients. Test it for flavor and add what you think it may need. (if it needs anything) Also if you choose to, you can throw a little Parmesan in there too!! Don't worry if you don't have a food processor. A few quick pulses in a blender will be just fine too!
Next I grilled the veggies. I did one zucchini, one yellow squash, (both medium size) and 3/4 one medium eggplant. When I sliced the veggies, I did them all on an angle so that the pieces would come out longer and have more substance to hold up to the heat of the grill.
Really you can change it up however you like. You can grill some red onion, some bell peppers, or even some fennel if you would like! It's totally up to you!
Before I grilled them I threw all my slices of veggies into a zip lock bad with parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Shook it up a bit and let them rest while I heated my grill pan. You want to get it fully heated to a high/ medium high.
While those are grilling it's time to slice your bread.
I went to Amy's Bread in the Chelsea Market and picked up some Ciabatta. As time goes on you'll see this is my bread. I love it!!
I sliced pieces just about the same width as the grilled vegetables. You don't want a big sandwich, but you want the bread sliced big enough so that the veggies don't fall out!!
OK... so now that, that is done: Scoop out any bread and make a nest for the veggies to rest in, take a big piece of fresh mozzarella and slice that up too! You might want to put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes first. It will firm it up to make slicing it easier.
Now we have everything ready to make a SICK sandwich!
Slice each piece of bread so that you have a top and bottom. On each side spoon some on the Cilantro pesto. Then from the bottom work up . Add mozzarella, one each of the other vegetables, a bit of Arugala, and then more mozzarella, and then the top.
Now brush the top and bottom with olive oil.
If you have a panini press now is the time to use it. If your like me you don't have one. I use my grill pan. If you only have a grill pan here is how you turn it to a panini press:
Place the sandwich top down on the grill pan. Take another pan and place it on top of the sandwich loaded with anything heavy. Today I used a can of crush tomatoes. Anything to weigh it down is fine.
Let it stay there over medium heat for about 2 minutes and them flip it over for another 2-3 minutes. Just enough time to get the cheese nice and melted and the crust crunchy!!!!
Now EAT IT!!!!!
A little Dijon on the side and it's rock & roll from there!!!!!
Let me know what you think!