That cheese, though.
Here’s the thing.
I love Caprese salads.
I mean, what’s not to love? Mozzarella cheese. Tomatoes. Fresh basil.
The first time I had heard of the concept, I had just returned back to the states after my first deployment which also ended up being towards the end of Lent. That’s also the year I decided to give up meat (for Lent… not like permanently! I’d dieeee!). Not eating meat was super easy while I was deployed. Not so easy back home. Insert: Panera’s tomato mozzarella panini. It was love at first bite. Seriously.
This must have sparked some sort of love affair with the combination because I had it again while visiting a Brazilian steakhouse in Vegas (Caprese salad that is – not Panera).
And again when I got back to North Carolina. I was pretty much on a Caprese binge.
Some how, some way, I stopped. Until my recent trip to Washington D.C. where I decided I was going to order some Caprese bites at the hotel bar.
And boom! Now it’s all I want.
And while I may be able to sit there and eat cheese by the boat load not everyone shares that type of gluttony. So, I went back to my Caprese salad tasting roots and created a panini. And it didn’t disappoint.
Also, can we talk about how stinking genius a panini press is? It’s right up there with the lazy man’s way of making an omelet (into a waffle). This is a must-have for my kitchen. A must-have, I tell you!
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- tomato, sliced
- fresh mozzarella, sliced
- fresh basil leaves
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice, butter side down, onto the panini press. Add 2 slices of mozzarella, and about 2 slices of tomato. In order for the sandwich to lay flat, I cut each of my tomato slices in half so they were half-circles. I then placed the four pieces on top of the mozzarella. Top with basil leaves and remaining slice of bread (with butter side up). Cook until cheese has melted and bread is golden brown.
I’m seriously baffled it has taken me this long to use a panini press.