May 28
Tomato, Mozzarella, & Pesto PaninisLeave a comment

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Pesto Panini 
 I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend, I know I am, one more day at the beach. A few weeks ago, Blair was in San Diego for work and I found myself at a loss as to what to make for dinner. I didn’t want tons of leftovers either since we were headed to NC for a wedding right after he got back. I ended up turning to some breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and of course my Mom’s cooking :). This happened to be my absolute favorite thing that I ate the entire time he was gone. It is all the basic flavors of a caprese salad in a warm and satisfying panini. Caprese salad is pretty much one of my all time favorite side dishes throughout the summer. It is especially great in late August when the Jersey tomatoes are at their peak. 
Instead of fresh basil though, the flavors are upped a notch by adding pesto to the sandwich. I added a link to the pesto recipe that I used since I had some in the freezer, but your favorite homemade or store bought will absolutely do the trick. I ended up using my panini pan to make these, but when the summer weather gets too hot, we will absolutely be making these babies on the grill. It is a quick, simple, and delicious dinner option. I know Blair will beg me to make them for him some time, and of course I will happily oblige.

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Pesto Paninis
Yield: 6 sandwiches
2 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella
12 slices bakery white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
about 1 cup pesto
kosher salt
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
What you’ll do:
Preheat grill or panini pan. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and slice the tomatoes and mozzarella 1/4-inch thick. Spread the bread slices out on a work surface.  Pour olive oil into a small bowl, and using a pastry brush, brush each bread slice with the oil.  Flip the slices over, and spread each slice evenly with pesto.  On half the bread, place a layer of mozzarella (about 2 slices per sandwich), followed by a layer of tomato.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with kosher salt and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Oil the grates of the grill, and working 3 sandwiches at a time, lay all the bread slices on the grill, and close the cover.  After 2-3 minutes, you should have grill marks, make sandwiches, by laying the pesto-only slices on top.  Weight the sandwiches down with either bricks wrapped well in foil, or heavy, oven-safe skillets.  Alternatively, you could lay a baking sheet on top and weigh that down with bricks. Grill an additional 1-3 minutes, or until the mozarella starts to ooze.  Repeat with remaining sandwiches.  Cut each sandwich in half, and serve warm. 
Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Ina Garten
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