I love a good sandwich, especially a panini. My daughter bought me a panini press this year for Christmas and I have been waiting for the right time to use it. Its pretty amazing that she was able to find one appliance I didn’t own. Looking around the kitchen today at all the unopened produce I purchased a few days ago I figured now was as good a time as any to try it out. After all, it is Super Bowl Sunday and what could be more “manly” than a hearty sandwich finished off on a grill right?
To be honest, I had no idea what I was going to make today but sometimes everything comes together in the center as it did today. We’ll call it good Karma in my house for there in my kitchen was one unopened panini grill, a loaf of crusty Gluten free bread, a bag of onions and a mixed bag of sweet peppers that were ripe and on their way out.
Karma’s timing kicks butt sometimes because my delivery of “Three Sister’s REAL Maple Syrup” that arrived on Friday from my niece and her husband, was sitting on the kitchen table along side of the package of frozen sweet Italian sausage I exhumed from the back of the freezer. The picture was forming in my head…
I was really excited to use the maple syrup since it was just made fresh last week. My niece’s husband recently jacked all the maple trees in their neighborhood…and at their church. (N0! I am not kidding, they really do this because their cool like that!) He also raises butterflies from caterpillar’s in the summer and has a “butterfly release” for all the neighbor’s. I am so proud to call them family…they are the perfect example of people that understand what a Friday Night Family really means.
Anyway, I had all the ingredients I needed right in my kitchen. I started chopping the onions and the peppers and figured I could use them all week in sandwiches and Fajita’s. I seasoned them with a little kosher salt and pepper and dumped them in the pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. I sauteed them until they were caramelized slightly and sweet. My pan got a little brown so I deglazed it with a 1/4 cup of water to release the brown bits on the bottom. (don’t let them burn or it will get bitter on you)
Next I seared the sweet Italian sausage links until they were nice and brown. I finished them off in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. I removed them from the pan to a cutting board and allowed them to cool enough to slice.
While the sausage cooled I removed the excess oil from the pan and left the brown bits. I put about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in the pan to deglaze it again and added about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and a squeeze of garlic paste. My niece told me they made a similar sauce for steaks so I decided to use the same combination for this panini creation. I heated it until it boiled and let it reduce to about half. (it becomes “syrupy” – I know you think its not a real word…yes it is…)
When the sausage cooled I slice it diagonally into bite sized pieces and coated them with the sauce. The kitchen smelled like heaven…
Time to make a panini! Look if you don’t have a panini press don’t be discouraged. A .98 cent brick will serve as your press and it won’t take up much storage space in your kitchen either. Wrap the brick in tin foil. I double wrapped mine with a second layer just in case.
I buttered both sides of the bread and loaded her up with the glazed sausage and the onion/pepper mixture and topped it off with a slice of pepper jack cheese. Heaven awaits…
This is when your new handy dandy “Patio Panini Press” comes in handy! With bread buttered, place your sandwich in a preheated pan. My favorite is a cast iron frying pan, they are cheap and will last a lifetime. Now place your foil covered brick on top of the sandwich.
After about 2-3 minutes check to see if Miss Panini has a nice suntan on her back and if she does, turn…her…over so she can tan evenly!
I myself only get “dark white” by the end of the summer but I am no longer envious of the perfect tan as I myself can achieve one using this easy method. Let the game begin! Since my team (Philadelphia Eagles) were not playing tonight I just sat back, ate my panini and watched the commercials…Congratulations Giants fans! …..and sorry Jackie, I promise to break in the new panini press soon…when you’re here of course! :0)