September 23, 2009

Apple, Brie + Turkey Panini

After Matt and I took a trip to the apple orchard last weekend I have apples out the wazoo, and I couldn't be happier. I've been snacking on them plain, dipping them in almond butter, making an improvised version of Waldorf salad, and making heavenly scones. One of the first things I made, though, was a panini. I'd considered making some kind of wrap with apple slices, but I knew I wanted brie and the only thing better than brie is molten brie.

Apple, Brie + Turkey Panini

Dijon Mustard
Spinach (optional)

For the bread I used one of the bake at home baguettes from the grocery store. Instead of baking it completely I baked it for about half the time, figuring it would be grilling long enough that it would finish cooking then (and it worked, in case you were wondering). Once it came out of the oven I spread a little dijon mustard on one half because there is nothing worse than a dry panini. A little apple butter would also be really good, but I didn't want to shell out $7 for a teensy jar of it at the grocery store. I can make my own for far less, thank you very much. And I'll let you know if I do.

First came the turkey. I used two or three pretty big slices.

Then spinach. You could definitely leave this part out if you prefer. I just wanted something green in my sandwich. There were a few bites where it was a little overpowering, but overall I enjoyed it because it made me feel like I was being a tiny bit healthier.

I piled some slices of brie on top of the spinach. And then I cut myself an extra slice to eat right away because I haven't had brie for a while and I could not live another second without it.

One of the keys to making a great sandwich is layering the ingredients in a way that holds everything in place. While slices of turkey don't have a tendency to slide right out of a sandwich, things like apple slices and small leaves of spinach do. Putting the cheese in between those things will act as a binder once it melts, and it will help keep everything in.

Next were the apple slices. Try to slice them thin enough that you can pile them on a sandwich and get your jaw around the sandwich, but not so thin that they're overshadowed by everything else. Plan on using about half an apple per sandwich, and you'll probably have a few extra slices for snacking on.

Top everything off with the other piece of bread and give it a little smoosh to help everything stick together.

If you don't own a panini press or pan, a George Foreman works just fine. Preheat the grill and throw your sandwich right on. I've found that it helps to shift the top piece of bread towards the back of the grill about half an inch because when you lower the lid it pushes that top piece forward. Make sense? Let me know if it doesn't.

It took a good 10 minutes until the brie started to melt. Cooking times will vary depending on the device you're using, though, so keep an eye on it.

Molten brie - exactly what I was going for. Success!

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