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Panini Party!

Last week, I taught a class on Entertaining Your Family, at a local boutique, where I demonstrated recipes for a panini party.  It was a lot of fun, and I think the starring sandwich of the evening was my chicken panino with artichoke heart and olive tapenade, roasted bell peppers, and caramelized onions, which is basically a grilled version of a sandwich I made last summer.

We also made Panini alla Margherita, ham and brie panini (which the kids will love), and Broiled vegetable salad.

This is a very easy recipe once you have all the ingredients.  However, all the ingredients can be a bit tricky to find, and a tad expensive.  Most of the ingredients have links to my other blog where I posted how to make everything last year.  And everything, from the tapenade to the caramelized onions, can be made and frozen ahead of time.

*Oh, and one more thing, I think a big loaf of ciabatta bread works well with this recipe, too.  All you do is cut the whole loaf in half, layer everything on, and put the whole loaf on the press.  Cut into individual pieces, and you have a very quick and easy dinner.

Chicken Panini with Artichoke Olive Tapenade, Roasted Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions

1 loaf of artisan bread, thinly sliced*
artichoke and olive tapenade (recipe follows)
6 ounces fontina cheese (or another melty cheese), sliced
4 roasted bell peppers
3/4 cup caramelized onions
1 large bunch fresh basil
1 pound cooked chicken (recipe for chicken in parchment paper follows)

Spread 1 slice of bread with tapenade, and layer the cheese and peppers on top. Spread caramelized onions on another slice and top with basil and chicken. Put the two halves together, brush the outsides of the bread with olive oil, and grill on a panini maker or on a cast iron pan with another cast iron pan pressed on top. Repeat with all remaining sandwiches.

Olive and Artichoke Heart Tapenade

4 ounces (113g) of pitted kalamata olives
4 ounces (113g) marinated artichoke hearts
2 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

chicken in parchment paper

1 pound of chicken breast, about 3
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celsius). Place a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place chicken on the center of the paper, and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

chicken-in-parchment-2 chicken-in-parchment-3

2. Fold one side of the paper over the top of the chicken and roll up the edges of the paper to create a pouch. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is done.

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