Friday, August 22, 2014

“Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato & Cheese Panini” For "National Sandwich Month"

Welcome readers, Andiamo a mangiare un panino! (Let’s eat a sandwich!) Yummy! As the summer months are winding down, we can’t forget that August is “National Sandwich Month.” 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, restaurants, deli‘s, food trucks, and even fast food restaurants. 

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, fish plus cheese, with the addition of vegetables. Sandwiches can 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.” 
Tuna Fish

Some of my readers may have heard this story before, so I thought I would repeat this memory for my new readers. 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 two 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 me 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. Some examples of bread types used are ciabatta, sourdough, and country style. The bread is cut horizontally and filled with deli ingredients such as salami, ham, cheese, other meats, as well as veggies 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, and thinly sliced Italian ham.

My recipe this week is a scrumptious sandwich called: “Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato & Cheese Panini.” Seasoned and salt-cured but not smoked, prosciutto is an Italian ham that is usually served in paper-thin slices because of its intense flavor. Prosciutto from Parma, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, is considered the best. 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.” 

Zucchini, Prosciutto, Tomato & Cheese Panini

Makes: 1 sandwich

2 slices country style bread or sourdough-type bread 1/ 2 inch thick
drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
Slices of Prosciutto or ham
Shredded young Asiago or Mozzarella cheese
Slices of tomato thinly sliced
Shredded zucchini

(I did not give you amounts of ingredients as you can add more or less of whatever you like)

Drizzle the olive oil over one slice of bread and layer the prosciutto over it. Sprinkle the cheese over the prosciutto and then add 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. Follow directions on your Panini maker. If you do not have a Panini maker, you can use a skillet with grill lines. 

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

Till Next Time……………………………….........

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  1. Looks DELICIOUS, Dottie! I love sandwiches toasted this way and always forget I have a panini maker! Thanks for the reminder. I love your intermission story with the tuna truly had an Italian mother, that's for sure! :)

    1. Dear Christina,
      I love these sandwiches too, they are full of goodies and a nice warm meal. Especially to me anything that makes the cheese ooze is ok with me. Time to pull out your Panini maker for sure...Thank you for visiting and your comment. Yes, my mom is a true Italian mother, and that story will always be in my heart. Seems like mom's always know what to say! Have a wonderful weekend....
      Dottie :)

  2. Good evening dear Dottie ,
    As usual your post is full of information and as usual ... I get hungry before I finish reading the post .
    What a gorgeous sandwich and there are so many varieties of meats you can use and lets not forget to use the cheese and heat to let them ooze out .
    Yes , your mother was a true Italian mother , I learned from mine that you waste not , you want not and is passing it on to my kids .
    Dottie I think this sandwich is just perfect for dinner to get away from so much grilling ... different soups and sandwiches for each day . just to name a few soups ... pasta , potato , tomato , etc. , the list is endlessly . Thanks dear friend and blessing to you for a gorgeous weekend . Thanks for sharing ;- D ~Nee~

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for your comment...You are correct Nee, you can use so many combinations of meats and cheeses with a sandwich like this..Your imagination is endless. I think, no matter if your mom was Italian or not, all mothers pass on to their children, waste not, want not! Now we are getting to the cooler weather soon, and a sandwich like this is perfect with a cup or bowl of soup. Sounds good to me...I hope you have a lovely blessed, weekend with your family.
      Dottie :)