Remember the Panini sandwich craze of the 90s? Millions of people bought electric Panini grills as either gifts or for themselves. I did both. Now that Robin and I have downsized, and do not have as much counter space as in the past, a Panini grill on the counter, sitting unused for most the year, doesn’t make much sense. But that doesn’t mean I don’t make Panini-style sandwiches!
Here’s how to make four tasty vegetarian Panini sandwiches without an expensive Panini grill. They might not have the distinctive “grill marks” of the traditional Panini sandwich, but the flavor and crunchy texture is there. Serve with a fresh green salad for a nutritious and filling lunch.
1 cup giardiniera (drained and rinsed well)
¾ cup pitted Kalamata olives
¾ cup pitted green olives
4 fresh Kaiser rolls (cut in half )
8 slices provolone cheese
1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water (drained – sliced thin)
1 8-ounce jar roasted red peppers
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat a large pan, a griddle or grill to medium-high heat.
Place olives and giardiniera in a blender or food processor and pulse chop into a relish. Divide the relish among the 4 sandwich roll bottoms and top with a single slice of cheese, then artichoke slices and peppers, then add another slice of provolone to each sandwich. The bread and filling should be balanced complimenting one another’s flavors. Add pepper to taste. Press tops in place.
Place sandwiches on grill and press with heavy skillet weighted down with cans. Press a few minutes on each side. When sufficiently grilled, remove the sandwiches and cut in half. Serve hot off the grill!