Friday, August 2, 2013

"Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato, and Cheese Panini" Recipe Andiamo! Let's Celebrate!

Welcome readers, Andiamo a mangiare un panino! (Let’s eat a sandwich!) Yummy! I know that everyone has eaten at least one or more delicious filled sandwiches in their lifetime. We have carried them to school, work, picnics, and other activities. They usually can be eaten for a lunchtime meal or sometimes just when you are looking for that special something to eat. Sandwiches can be made with many combinations of vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, cheese, sandwich spreads, eggs, etc. They are sold all over the world in cafes and restaurants. As we begin the new month, I want to honor the “sandwich,” especially in August, as it is “National Sandwich Month.” 

The first form of a sandwich is attributed to an ancient Jewish Elder, who is said to have put meat from the lamb and bitter herbs inside a matzo. (a flat unleavened bread) During the Middle Ages, thick slabs of coarse stale bread, called “trenchers,” were used as plates. The trenchers you could say were the first “open faced sandwich” that we know of today. In the United States, a sandwich is, made with two or more slices of bread, and with one or more layers of filling, typically meat or cheese, with the addition of vegetables. Sandwiches came be make hot or cold, open faced or can be a Triple Decker, a Dagwood, or a Monte Cristo. They can be a club or a sub, or French Dipped. Then of course we have a few of America’s favorites which include, a BLT, Grilled Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak, and the most favorite is the Hamburger! The bread can be coated with butter, oil, mustard or other condiments to enhance flavor and texture. A sandwich can also include tacos, burritos, bagels, wraps and even are made of Ice Cream. Just use your imagination and you too can enjoy “The Sandwich.” 

I remember a story when I was young…. “Gone With The Wind,” the movie was playing at a theater near where we lived. It was one of my mother’s favorite movies. At that time in the late 1960’s, my mom was not sure if they would ever play it again and wanted us to see this classic. She took my brothers and me to see the movie. It was on a Friday late in the afternoon and my mom made each one of us a tuna fish sandwich to eat for a quick dinner as the movie was 4 hours long. As a Catholic you could not eat meat on Fridays in those days. The movie had an intermission because it was so long, and that is when we started to eat the sandwiches. They were delicious as my mom put lettuce and tomato, with the tuna in between an Italian roll. We enjoyed them, but as you all know tuna does smell a little. I remember everyone looking at my brothers and I all lined up in the row eating the sandwiches. I remember saying to my mom, “everyone is looking at us”, and she said, “Do not worry about them looking; they are just jealous that they are not eating this fantastic sandwich.” Still to this day we remember that afternoon with the tuna sandwiches, my mom, and the movie. It will be a memory that we hold dear to our hearts. By the way, “Gone With The Wind” is now one of my favorites and every time I watch it, I remember the tuna story.  

In Italy, panino is the word for a sandwich made from bread other than sliced bread. The bread is cut horizontally and filled with deli ingredients such as salami, ham, cheese, or other food, and sometimes served warm after having been pressed by a warming grill. The term Panini has been adopted to refer to a pressed and toasted sandwich. Then there is Brischetta, an open faced, toasted bread brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic, topped with savory items, which might include tomato, basil, thinly sliced Italian ham.

My recipe this week is a scrumptious Panini called: “Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato and Cheese Panini.” When this sandwich is grilled to perfection, the cheese oozes out and all the flavors melt together. This sandwich is a delectable way to celebrate National Sandwich Month. Enjoy! 

Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato, and Cheese Panini

Makes: 1 sandwich

2 slices country white or sourdough-type bread
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
2 thin slices Prosciutto or ham
1/3 cup shredded young Asiago or Mozzarella cheese
2 slices of tomato thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded zucchini

Drizzle the olive oil over one slice of bread and layer the prosciutto over it. Sprinkle the cheese over the prosciutto and then the tomatoes, and zucchini. Then drizzle some Balsamic Vinegar on top before putting the other slice of bread over it. Top with the second slice of bread and grill in a Panini maker.

If making in a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick sauté pan; when it begins to sizzle, add the sandwich and weigh it down with a grill press, cast-iron pan, or a brick covered in aluminum foil. When brown on the bottom, turn it over and brown the other side. Can be served with some chips or along side with a hot cup of soup for lunch or dinner.

Till Next Time……………………………….........

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