Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grilled Veggie Panini and Roasted Potato Wedges

Here is another panini creation for you. This one is vegetarian, like so many of my others. I made a yummy basil pesto for this one, but you could also use a store-bought one. I like Butoni. I also used the leftover basil pesto for the dinner I made tonight. You got to love taking an element from one dinner and using it for a totally different dish the next night. I served these paninis with delicious roast potato wedges. They were nice and crispy. A great and healthier substitute for french fries.

Grilled Veggie Panini
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 zucchini, cut in half and then sliced to about an 1/8-1/4 inch thick
2 slices of red onion
1 tomato, sliced
fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 Tbsps basil pesto, store bought or see recipe
4 slices of hearty bread, ciabatta or Italian
olive oil

Add a little olive oil to a grill pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper slices, zucchini and red onion to the pan. Grill on both sides for a couple of minutes until the veggies are tender, but still have bite. Take 2 slices of the bread and drizzle olive oil on one side, flip over. Now we build the paninis starting with a couple of slices of mozzarella, the tomato, a tablespoon of pesto on each, red onion, red pepper, and zucchini. Top each with the other 2 slices of bread; drizzle with olive oil. Place on a preheated panini press until grilled and golden brown. Of course if you don't have a panini press just use a pan, weighing down the sandwich with another pan or something else heavy.

Roasted Potato Wedges
1 potato per person, I used big Yukon Gold potatoes, but baking potatoes work too
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Then cut each in half into 4 or 5 wedges. Toss the potato wedges with a little oil, thyme, salt and pepper. In an even layer, spread on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the wedges and bake for another 15 minutes. (Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the potato wedges.) The result should be crispy on the outside, but soft and cooked through on the inside. These are just as good as french fries!

*Note: When using fresh thyme you just want the leaves, not the stems. The easiest way to pull off the leaves is to hold the top of the sprig with one hand and with your thumb and index finger of your other hand, run down the sprig removing the leaves. Then mince the leaves.

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