Friday, July 6, 2007

Panini Recipe - Panini Caprese

A classic southern Italian salad called caprese combines fresh white mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil. Here, the same ingredients bring the feeling of summer in Italy to a panino. An added touch is sprinkling of aromatic dried oregano, an herb at home in the sun-baked Italian south. I like to grill the inside of the bread lightly, which keeps the panini crisp.

1 large ball fresh mozzarella, about 1/2 pound
2 large rolls, round or baguette-shaped
extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, ripe but firm, cored and sliced
salt and freshly-gound black pepper to taste
dried Mediterranean oregano, such as Greek oregano
8 basil leaves

Cut the mozzarella in slices and place on folded clean tea towels.

Meanwhile, slice the rolls in half horizontally, Place bread cut-side down on a grill, until lightly toasted. Drizzle both sides of the bread with olive oil.

Arrange tomatoes on bottom halves of rolls. Season with salt and pepper, a sprinkling of oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. Arrange the mozzarella on top of the tomatoes. Season again with salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Top with the whole basil leaves. Cover with the top halves of the rolls. Grill to perfection.

Serves 2

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