About 15 years ago I was at a small café in Rome with my sister. I ordered a sandwich with prosciutto, cheese and tomatoes. They pressed it. It was my first panini. I needed more. I was in love. Thankfully, since then the panini has made it big here in the U.S. You can get them at local delis, the airport and if they’re not there already, they’ll certainly make it to your favorite donut shop soon.
They’re also super-easy to do at home. I make them for a quick dinner. The Southwestern Cheese Panini in this picture is one of my favorite combinations. It includes shredded carrots, zucchini, salsa, cheese and the crowning touch….pickled jalapeños. And I always have tuna on hand so I often make our Mediterranean Tuna Panini and serve it with my favorite green salad on the side. And if I’m feeling ambitious I slice up some potatoes (with the skin on to get the fiber and potassium) for oven fries.
Of course if you love panini as much as I do, you should just head right down to your local kitchenware store and pick up a press. (I really love my Breville—it’s heavy-duty and heats up nicely. I also have the less expensive Emeril brand press, which you can take apart and throw in the dishwasher.)
But owning a panini press may not be your top priority at the moment. So, the good news is we have an easy technique for making your own press at home, with just two skillets and a couple of cans of beans (or soups or whatever you have on hand). Here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps. See our Quick Panini Technique »