I have been having a blast writing about the different Italian sausages and dry cured meats recently. One pleasant side effect of writing all of those articles is that I have had a copious supply of these tasty snacks on hand and have been playing around with my favorite ways to serve them.
My favorite so far has been an Italian Cold Cut Panini Sandwich….and let me warn you..this is wicked delicious!
Italian Cold Cut Panini Sandwich Recipe
- Ciabatta Bread
- Italian Olive Salad
The ingredients are flexible but there is some logic behind what I am using.
Ciabatta bread has a beautiful porous interior that is great at soaking up the olive oil and other juices that come along with the olive salad. The bread also has a sturdy crust that holds up and grills extremely well when pressed by the panini grill.
Italian Olive Salad is an amazing mix of chopped olives, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, salt and olive oil. I cannot keep this stuff in the house or I will simply eat spoonfuls at a time. I have tried making my own homemade version of olive salad before but I have never come close to making anything as awesome as the Boscoli product.
Salami and Pepperoni are my go to cold cuts. It doesn’t matter if you use Hard Salami or Genoa Salami, both are excellent. You could also pile on some mortadella or even some soppressata and you would be very happy. While I am a huge fan of capicola and prosciutto I would not include them on a sandwich. The whole muscle dry cured meats are too dang fantastic all by themselves, almost works of “food art” and I hate covering up their complex flavors too much.
Mozzarella melts extremely well and seems appropriate for an Italian sandwich. There would be nothing wrong with switching this out with Swiss, Provolone or Havarti.
Lettuce provides a little moisture and texture to the sandwich. A few tomato slices would be great but I have found them to cause things to slip around when pressure is applied by the panini press.
Some folks would add a few splashes of red wine vinegar on top of everything and I couldn’t argue with that.
Once the sandwich is assembled I spray both side of the bread with olive oil and stick it in a pre-heated panini press. I have to cut the sandwich in half before pressing to get the beast to fit 🙂
Typically the press runs around 400F. I like to apply pressure on the handle for at least a minute and then let the sandwich heat until I see the cheese melting.
These come out looking and tasting amazing. I honestly don’t know which I like the best..
- The crunchy grilled bread
- The punch of the olive salad
- The salty “twang” of the fermented cold cuts
If this isn’t the best sandwich I have ever made then it has to be in the top ten.
More spectacular sandwiches will be coming so stay tuned!