August 2, 2012

Warm Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Tomato Panini


I am SO EXCITED to share today's recipe with y'all!  In fact, in the past 48 hours Bo has eaten this panini three times, and I have eaten it once (plus a few stolen bites from Bo's servings...hehehe).

So, here's the back story:

Two days ago Bo requested a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner.  The chef in me thought that that sounded sort of boring.  So, instead of making us a traditional grilled cheese, I decided to use his suggestion as a basis for something much for sophisticated and delicious.

Enter: goat cheese

Armed with goat cheese as my secret ingredient, I proceeded to craft a sandwich that rivals  practically every deli sandwich I have eaten in my entire life.  Subway, Quiznos, Panera, you've got nothin' on me!

Ooey, gooey, and delicious!  This sandwich has the same creaminess as a childhood-classic grilled cheese, but with a refined twist.  If you can, eat this sandwich warm.  There is just something about warm bread and goat cheese that does a body (and a soul) good!

Warm Goat Cheese, Spinach, and Tomato Panini
Serves 1

2 slices of whole wheat bread (or bread of choice)
1.5 oz. goat cheese
1/3 medium tomato, sliced
small handful of spinach
salt, for garnish
pepper, for garnish
balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

  • Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Microwave the goat cheese for 10-15 seconds, just until it is easily spreadable.
  • Spread a generous layer of the goat cheese over each piece of bread.
  • Layer the spinach on top of the goat cheese.
  • Add the thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the spinach.
  • Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinegar.
  • Place the top layer of bread onto the sandwich.
  • Add the panini to the preheated skillet, and place a cast-iron skillet on top of it (this is to weight it down and to ensure that all of the ingredients meld together as they heat up).
  • Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, until the bread is browned - but not burned!
  • Flip, and replace the cast-iron skillet on top of the panini.
  • Cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve warm with fruit, chips, or any other side(s) of your choice.

I can't decide between these two pictures:  On the one hand, the top picture shows really great color definition of the panini.  The green, red, and white are so vibrant.  Heck, you can even see the speckled brown on top of the bread!  On the other hand, the bottom pictures has great lighting!  I love how you can still see the grapes, the plate, and the surrounding items in some definition.

In a perfect world, I would have both the talent and the equipment to take a picture that is somewhere right in the middle.  Until then, I will just keep honing my skills, and waiting for Christmas (or Bo's next pay raise!).

Question of the Day:

Do you like goat cheese?  If not, what other kinds of cheese DO you like (Who know...maybe I could come up with a sandwich using one of your favorites!)?

Ally and Bo

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