nothing appeals to or comforts me more than a tomato and mozzarella panini on crusty ciabatta. blame it on my 100% italian heritage, if you must, but i’m pretty sure that homegrown grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella is the best combination to ever grace the world of sandwiches. today, though, i am confident that i may have created the best of the best. try it for yourself if you don’t believe me!
to craft this masterpiece, start by prepping your pan with olive oil over loooow heat. pause! not just regular olive oil, but basil infused olive oil(available at pretty much any grocery store these days). to your pan, add a sprinkle each of salt and pepper. once you can smell the basil’s aromatic scent from across the kitchen, toss in your halved ciabatta roll with the inner side down so it can get allll nice and toasty. pro tip: don’t skip this step.
while your bread is bronzing, prep your sandwich fillings. as untraditional as it is, i much prefer grape tomatoes on this type of sandwich because big slices are just too hard to eat. dont worry about your grape tomatoes falling out, though, because your mozz will be so melted it will enrobe the tomatoes and keep them exactly where they should be. yes, it’s okay to drool now.
my tomatoes had been marinating in olive oil and oregano over night as the result of an unfinished caprese, but skipping this process won’t hinder your results. after retrieving my tomatoes from the fridge, i sliced up my fresh mozzarella and carefully laid the slices down on my now perfectly toasted and basil infused ciabatta(swoon). on top, i nestled in the grape tomatoes and topped the fillings with the second slice of bread. back into the pan it went to brown on the outside and melt on the inside!
i found that putting a panini press on top of the sandwich while it was cooking helped to hold everything in place and crisp the bread up nicely, but the same effect can be achieved with either a spatula held firmly on top or a couple of soup cans stacked on top of the sandwich with an aluminum foil barrier in between. finally, it was time for the flip. with ninja quick precision. i turned the sandwich over to reveal a perfectly browned underside. the panini press went right back on top until the second side had reached golden perfection(about 5 mins per side).
all that was left to do now was slice my creation in half and enjoy!