Saturday, June 16, 2007

Of Paninis and Frittatas

Originally posted 2nd December 2007

Arun loves both, Paninis and Frittatas.. A panini, basically is a sandwich that is made with vegetables or meat and cheese - which is then pressed down with a weight while being heated through so the cheese melts and the bread gets toasted and crispy. I make them with lots of roasted vegetables and slices of pepper jack cheese.. I also make it a tad spicier than what you normally get at the restaurants. In fact we bought a Panini making set just before we left for India and we've been aching to give it a try. It has a cast iron grill pan, a weight with a handle, tongs etc. It's easy to make these even without a panini maker or the grill pan, I used to just put them in an oven until the sandwiches were heated through and the cheese melted - it had pretty much the same effect sans the grill marks.

A Frittata, is an omlette but is loaded with vegetables and is kind of thick. Some cheese is also added to it and it's finished off in an oven.

We made both of these last weekend and I remembered to take some snaps... so here goes.


Ciabatta, Baguette or Focacia (sliced horizontally)
Red Onion – 1 Big, sliced fairly thick
Garlic Cloves – 12, peeled
Zucchini – 1 big or 2 small, cut into thick strips of about 2 inches length
Yellow Squash – 2 small, cut into thick strips of about 2 inches length
Carrots – 2, peeled and cut into thick strips of about 2 inches length
Red pepper – 1, seeded and cut into thick strips of about 2 inches length
Green Pepper – 1 , seeded and into thick strips of about 2 inches length
Roma Tomato – 1 (optional), cut in 8 big pieces
Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
Pepper Jack Cheese – 6 oz sliced
Sriracha Chilli Sauce – to taste (optional)
Salt, Pepper and dried Italian herbs
Oil Spray
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F
Lightly coat or spray a baking sheet with oil
Toss cut vegetables with olive oil, dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper
Arrange vegetables as a single layer on roasting pan
Allow to roast in Oven for 20-25 minutes or until roasted and caramelized
To the bottom half of the sliced bread, spread a thin layer of Sriracha Chilli sauce. I also spread half of the focacia in this case with pesto.
Top with roasted vegetables
Arrange the layers of Cheese on the vegetables and put the top layer of the bread
Put the sandwiches in a Panini maker or into the hot oven and cook until the cheese melts and it’s heated through.
Slice and Serve warm

Small Red Onion – Sliced thinly
Portobello Mushroom – 1 big cap, sliced
Red Bell Pepper – Half, seeded and cut into thin strips
Green Bell Pepper – Half, seeded and cut into thin strips
Garlic – 2 cloves, chopped finely
Spinach leaves – 1½ cups chopped
Small Roma Tomato – 1, chopped
Egg beaters (any Egg substitute) - 1½ cups
Low Fat Pepper Jack cheese – ½ cup, grated
Red Chilli flakes to taste or Jalapeno peppers – 2, chopped
Low Fat Milk – 1/3 cup
Olive oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a non-stick pan
Sauté sliced onions and garlic. Add red chilli flakes or jalapeno peppers
When onions soften and start to brown, add mushroom and peppers with some salt
Finally add tomatoes and garlic and sauté until mushy and spinach has wilted
In a bowl, lightly beat egg substitute and milk , mix in ¼ cup of pepper jack cheese
Add cooked vegetables to the egg mixture with sufficient salt and pepper. Grate some nutmeg.
In an oven proof sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, turn pan around to coat it
Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook on low heat, covered until mostly set – about 15 minutes
Meanwhile pre-heat the broiler
Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup cheese on the frittata and put in oven
Broil for 3-5 minutes until the top browns lightly
Slice and serve warm. Tasty even when cold.

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