Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini

I love Panini’s. In fact, I like them better than your standard, white bread sandwich. Give me grilled bread anytime. Panini’s are like pizza or quesadillas: the combinations and permutations are endless. And delicious.

Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini
Serves 4

Store-bought rotisserie chicken
8 whole sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cups mayonnaise
2 whole red bell peppers
8 whole slices Provolone or Mozzarella cheese
8 slices whole grain sandwich bread
4 tablespoons butter, softened

For the chicken: Slice chicken into strips.

For the spread: In a blender or food processor, puree sundried tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons of the sundried tomato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Roasting the red peppers: If you have a gas cook top, blacken red peppers directly over the flame. (If you do not have a gas cook top, blacken them directly under the oven broiler.) Completely blacken/char on all sides, then immediately seal in a Ziploc bag. Allow peppers to sit, sealed, in the bag for at least 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove from bag and use fingers to slip off the blackened skin. (Don’t be afraid to leave some black bits!) Lop off the top, cut in half, then seed and slice into strips. Set aside.

To assemble the Panini: Spread generous amounts of the sundried tomato/pesto spread on one side of all the pieces of bread. On four of the pieces, arrange 1/4 of the chicken slices, 1/4 of the pepper slices, and two pieces of provolone. Place the other four pieces of bread with the spread face down. Butter both sides of sandwich, and then grill in Panini maker or on a skillet over medium-low heat. (If you use a skillet, set a heavy pan or skillet on top of the sandwich as each side browns.) Slice sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

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