Warm Italian Panini Sandwich
A classic Italian sub sandwich normally features a mixture of cured meats, such as salami, pepperoni or ham, and provolone cheese on an Italian-style roll. Onions, tomatoes, and crispy lettuce topped with copious amounts of Italian dressing are also standard.
This version is similar, except it is on a super soft artisanal white bread without the dressing and it is served warm. If you don’t have a dedicated Panini press at home – no problem. You can achieve similar results with a more versatile grill pan and a heavy cast iron skillet.
½ small red onion, sliced thin
4 slices thick-cut artisanal white bread
2 T. melted butter, unsalted
2 Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried, tough ribs at bottom removed
1 tomato, washed, dried and sliced
4 oz. hard salami
4 oz. Italian deli ham
2 oz. pepperoni
4 oz. sliced provolone cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
For best results, soak the red onion slices in water for at least half an hour to soften before serving. This will also yield a milder flavor. Remove onion from water, pat dry and set aside.
Butter one side of all four bread slices. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and add 2 slices of bread, buttered side down. (If the pan is not cast iron, spray with non-stick spray first). Add lettuce, tomato, red onion, salami, ham, pepperoni and provolone cheese on top of the bread slices in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Top assembled sandwiches with remaining 2 bread slices, buttered side up.
With a spatula or a heavy, very clean cast iron skillet, apply even pressure to the top of the assembled sandwiches. This will ensure even contact with the hot grill pan below, which will create even grill marks and help heat the interior of the sandwich more thoroughly.
When the bread on the bottom is golden brown, carefully flip each sandwich and repeat until the other slice of bread is also evenly browned. Serve immediately with a dill pickle spear and your favorite chips.