None of this has anything to do with today’s recipe except that it does wrap you up in a warm blanket and make you feel a little cozy. Paninis do that to me for some reason. I’m a fan of Panera, but let’s be honest – it isn’t exactly the cheapest place to get a bite to eat. This one is modeled after their Smokehouse Turkey Panini but with a few modifications.
Smokey Cheddar Turkey Panini
*Makes 4 Sandwiches
- ½ - ¾ lb thin sliced deli turkey
- ¼ lb thin sliced provolone cheese
- ¼ lb thin sliced smoked cheddar cheese
- 8 slices Italian bread, sliced ½” thick
- ¾ cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 8 sliced bacon, cooked
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, approx
- 1/3 cup stone ground mustard*
- 2 large sun dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Olive oil
* This kind of mustard has little seeds in it, if you don’t groove on that use whatever kind you’d like.
1. Add mushrooms and butter to a sauté pan and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile combine sun dried tomatoes and mustard in a blender or food processor until smooth.
2. Heat your panini press or grill pan to a medium heat. I use my old George Forman, which works great for this actually. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. These sides will be the “outside” of the panini.
3. Prepare your sandwich for pressing by layering your ingredients any way you like. I recommend: cheddar cheese, bacon, turkey, provolone cheese, mushrooms, spinach, red onion, and then smear the top with the sun dried tomato mustard.
4. Place sandwich on press/grill and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until bread is nicely browned and cheese is melted.
Thoughts: This is way better than Panera’s version. The vegetables jazz it up quite a bit and make it feel more satisfying. It tastes “fresher” too. The spinach wilts slightly from the heat, but still stays crisp and the browned mushrooms add a nice earthy flavor. The sun dried tomato mustard adds just a bit of tanginess, and there is a smoked cheddar and bacon too! It’s like all my favorites rolled into one package.
What are some of your favorite ingredients for a panini? I’d love some more ideas!