I decided to create my own recipe for chicken paninis last week. Since there were only 3 of us eating dinner that night, I downsized the recipe and made 1 panini for each of us. I started with a leftover grilled chicken breast, some hearty french bread, some leftover longhorn cheese and a bunch of cilantro that needed to be used up.
Grilled Southwest Panini
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
6 slices french bread, cut 1/4-1/2 inch thick
3 slices longhorn cheese (Substitute whatever cheese you prefer.)
1 cup cooked chicken (Rotisserie chicken would great if you didn't happen to have any leftovers.)
Top with remaining piece of bread to complete the sandwich. Put sandwiches on the Big Green Egg.
I used the lid to my dutch oven to gently "press" the paninis while they cooked.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the paninis to brown very well. I kept the heat low because I was afraid of burning the bread but my strategy worked against me because I couldn't get it toasted either.
I thought the paninis were excellent. They had a nice smoky flavor from the grill and the cheesy chicken was perfectly complimented by the spicy mayonnaise and cool cilantro pesto. These tasted like a sandwich would cost at least 10.00 at a gourmet sandwich shop.
Unfortunately, my family didn't share my opinion about the paninis. My daughter took one bite and left the rest on their plate. My son ate his sandwich but I could tell that it was only because I was getting annoyed that no one was eating. I don't know if it was the crunchy bread or the smoky flavor but neither one of the kids liked these paninis very well. (Can't win 'em all.)
So it was a split decision over out Southwest Paninis - I loved them and the kids hated them. Decide for yourself.
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