Michael Chiarello's Mozzarella and Tomato Panini
8 slices country-style bread, each ½ inch thick
½ pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
8 Oven-Dried Tomatoes
16 large fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
You'll need 2 nonstick skillets to make 4 sandwiches at once, or you can make 2 sandwiches and keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the others.
- First, assemble the sandwiches: On each of 4 bread slices, place 3 slices of cheese. Season with salt, then top with 2 tomato halves, 4 basil leaves, and another slice of bread.
- Heat 2 large nonstick skillets over moderately high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter to each skillet and swirl to melt the butter and coat the skillet.
- Put 2 sandwiches in each skillet and place a heavy skillet on top as a weight; if the upper skillet isn't heavy, put more weight, such as canned goods, inside it.
- Cook until the sandwiches are well browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, then remove them.
- Add another ½ tablespoon butter to each skillet, and return the sandwiches, browned side up, to the skillets. Weight as before and cook until the second side is well browned, about 3 minutes longer.
- Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.
Serves: Makes 4 sandwiches