By Carolyn Malcoun, July/August 2007
Panini are hot! Hailing from Italy, these simple pressed sandwiches are generally found at Italian truck stops, airport food stands and bars, where you’ll often be presented with a variety of cold assembled sandwiches that are pressed to order. Now they’re making their mark in America. Restaurants devoted entirely to these delights have opened across the country. Even supermarket chains have jumped on the panini bandwagon, giving customers the option to have their sandwiches made into panini.
Nearly all kitchenware stores and catalogs now sell panini presses—they range from $25 to over $1,000). But if you’ve been wary of trying to make panini at home because you thought you needed to buy a panini press, think again. Our simple stovetop technique allows anyone to make panini—sans press. It’s an ideal summer meal: your stove is on for mere minutes. All you need are two skillets and four cans, and panini can be yours—no trip to Italy required.
Have four 15-ounce cans and a medium skillet (not nonstick) ready by the stove.
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Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 panini in the pan. Place the medium skillet on top of the panini, then weigh it down with the cans. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, flip the panini, replace the top skillet and cans, and cook until the second side is golden, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with another 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining panini.