Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spotting Lunch - Pancetta, Fontina and Caramelized Shallot Panini

I got a panini press for Christmas a few years ago. It's one of my most favorite small kitchen appliances. Instead of making grilled cheese sandwiches or the like in a buttered skillet I've been making them in the press. It's super quick since the panini press cooks the sandwich from both sides - always resulting in a crispy brown sandwich. I found PaniniKathy's delicious looking pancetta, fontina and caramelized shallot panini on TasteSpotting and decided that would be "lunch" today.

Photo from paninihappy

Pancetta, Fontina & Caramelized Shallots Panini

via paninihappy


Shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
Olive oil
Pancetta, thinly sliced
French baguette, halved lengthwise
Fresh sage, coarsely chopped
Fontina cheese, thinly sliced


Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).

Toss shallots with olive oil to coat and place cut-side down onto the panini grill. Close the lid and grill for 6-7 minutes until caramelized. Leave the residual shallot-infused oil on the grates - it will add great flavor once you grill the sandwich. Alternatively, you could roast the shallots on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven or toaster oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the slices of pancetta - either in a toaster oven broiler pan at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or in a skillet over medium-high heat until the fat renders and the pancetta is crispy.

Place 3-4 shallot halves on the bottom baguette (fan out the layers to cover the bread). Sprinkle sage on top of the shallots. Add pancetta and Fontina and close the sandwich. Grill for 5-6 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve immediately and enjoy!

The great thing about a sandwich like this is that you can easily change up the ingredients depending on what you have in the fridge. You could use red onion instead of shallot or applewood smoked bacon instead of pancetta... I'd try this recipe just the way it is though. It'll be wonderful. If you happen to be really hungry you could serve this with a salad or your favorite soup.

Here's to panini presses and full bellies.

- Cait

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