You know how people always say that you can buy kids super expensive and fancy gifts and they will ignore them and play with the boxes and have a great time? That’s kind of the situation with these sandwiches. Of all of the things I have cooked/baked over the years, these sandwiches are the most popular in my house. I’m not gonna lie, this hurts my feelings a little since I feel I’ve made some pretty impressive things, but I will say that they are very good sandwiches. My husband and sister-in-law request them a few times a month at least. Originally I made them grilled cheese-style with some nice sliced bread, but since I got my cast-iron grill pan I’ve been making them as paninis with ciabatta rolls and I have to say, they’ve improved exponentially! I saw a picture of a similar sandwich on the cover of a Food Network magazine a few summers back, but it called for a certain kind of cheese I’ve never been able to find around here, so I sort of made up my own.
If you’re lucky enough to have a panini press I’d use that, but since I only have the pan I have to resort to more primitive methods:
I use my heaviest pan and set in on the sandwiches while they’re grilling. It smooshes them down in the best way and helps to get those lovely grill marks and super crispy crust! After they grill for about 4 or 5 minutes on each side, they come out looking like this:
Ham, Apple, and Cheese Paninis
Ciabatta rolls (I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the bakery section. It pains me to admit it, but they have a pretty good selection)
Olive oil, for brushing on the pan & bread
thinly sliced ham (I usually always buy the brown sugar baked ham)
green apple sliced very thinly
red onion, sliced very thinly
provolone cheese slices
Mayo or Dijon mustard, or both
baby lettuces for color and to pretend these are a little healthy
Assemble each sandwich by spreading both the top slice and bottom with the condiment of your choice. Then layer all the sandwich ingredients, making sure to put the ham and the cheese next to each other. Put the pan on the stove to heat up on about medium-high, brush the pan with a little olive oil and then brush both the top and bottom of the sandwiches with some too. Put them in the pan and place either a panini press or your heaviest piece of cookware on top of them and let them cook for about 5 minutes, then flip them over, replace the pan or press and cook for another five minutes. Remove them from the pan, slice them in half and listen to that beautiful crunch. Serve them with your favorite chips or some yummy oven fries, or if you want to get all healthy, a vegetable or something like that.
* I didn’t put measurements on the ingredients because it changes depending on how many you’re cooking for. I’m usually cooking for three, so I buy for that amount. I trust you’ll know how packed full of stuff you like your sandwiches to be. I hope you love them as much as the weirdos I live with do!