I may be easily amused, but few things make me happier than a good sandwich (or sammich, if you will). And for me, that's a tall order. I don't like mayo. I don't like mustard. I'm picky about my meat. I'm picky about my cheese. And the bread has to be absolutely perfect. I'm a tough crowd.
And this evening, with the help of my panini press, I may have created the perfect sammich.
Paninis are my favorite of all the sandwiches, and I loaded this one with marinated and grilled steak, and a play on the classic caprese salad ingredients -- tomato, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. I love a crunchy panini, so I lightly buttered the outside of the bread before I added it to the panini press. I then sprinkled on some Italian seasoning to give the bread more of a focaccia taste. My tummy is one happy camper.
If you don't have a panini press, never fear. You can put your sammich on the stovetop or grill, and top it with a cast iron frying pan or a foil-covered brick.
As a side dish, I threw together some smashed Yukon gold potatoes with sauteed garlic and rosemary. My husband helped me, even though t'was his first potato mashing in all his 33 years. Well done, hon.
Caprese Steak Panini
1 lb. steak, preferably sirloin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced (leaves stripped from 2 large sprigs)
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced (leaves stripped from 2 large sprigs)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 long loaf French or Italian bread
Butter, for outside of bread
Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on bread
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced or chopped
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
15 leaves fresh basil chiffonade*
*To make the basil chiffonade, stack the basil leaves and roll them tightly. Then thinly slice the roll of basil leaves to create thin strips.
1. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a dish, and add steak, flipping so that marinade coats both sides. Refrigerate and marinate 1-4 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before grilling.
2. Grill steak over medium heat until cooked to your liking, preferably medium. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing.
3. Preheat a panini press, grill, or pan.
4. Cut bread into four rolls. For each panini, slice the roll, butter the outside, and sprinkle the outside with dried Italian seasoning. On the bottom of the roll, add sliced steak, chopped or sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
5. Add top of roll and cook panini about 5-7 minutes, or until crispy.
Rosemary Garlic Smashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, half of them peeled, cut in 2" chunks
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced (leaves striped from 1/2 a large sprig)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1. Add potatoes to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return pot to stove.
2. Add olive oil to pot and heat to medium heat. Saute garlic and rosemary until garlic starts to turn golden.
3. Return potatoes to pot. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and smash to your desired consistency. Top with chives.