Monday, August 26, 2013

Dorm Room Dinner: Caprese Paninis

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As I've mentioned the last few weeks, work is really going well for me.  I feel like I'm fully engaged and firing on all cylinders.  I'm lucky that I have a lot of cheerleaders there for me, as well.  People who believe in you and are willing to back you up or help you with only a moment's notice.  It's nice to have.  In fact, it might be the first time ever that I've been able to build that kind of network in my job.  It helps that I love most of my co-workers (hey, you can't win them all over, right?).

Anyway, one of the guys I'm talking about above has a lake house in CT that he visits weekly with his kids and wife.  When we're not talking about work, we talk a lot about food (if you haven't noticed, that's a passion of mine) and tequila (which is a passion of his).  Two weeks ago, he called me on Friday and said that he had a ton of tomatoes he expected to be ripe at his house and would I want some?  Silly question.

We're talking about gorgeous heirloom tomatoes - yellows and purples and deep reds.  Who would turn those down?  The bag I ended up getting would have cost us easily $20 at Whole Foods.  Ah, the joys of friendship.  I prepared all weekend for the Monday morning drop-off of tomatoes.  In fact, I planned our whole week's meal plan around it - these paninis were perfect for Monday - the day that both John and I work probably a little too late and are always a little too hungry by the time we get home.
Caprese Paninis
Serves:  2
1/2 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons shallots, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 slices sourdough bread
2 large tomatoes,thinly sliced
6 basil leaves
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat your panini maker (or we use the George Foreman - or you can use a skillet, just make sure you have another skillet to press down on).

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add oil, shallots, and garlic.  Cook 60-90 seconds until garlic is fragrant.  Then, add balsamic vinegar.  Cook 8-12 minutes, until vinegar is reduced to 4 tablespoons; as it cools it will get syrupy.

Brush the vinegar mixture onto all 4 slices of bread.  Layer tomatoes on 2 of the slices.  Top the tomatoes with basil leaves and then mozzarella.  Place the other slice of bread vinegar-side down.  Cook the paninis 5-8 minutes, until cheese is melty and bread is golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Until the next time my oven is on...


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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