Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Turkey, onion & pesto panini

Somewhere in the middle of top notch chicken dinners and an infinite number of kale salads, I lost sight of one of the most satisfying meals ever: the sandwich.

Normally, a sandwich is the last thing on my mind when it comes to dinner.  Grander visions of soups, roasts, and casseroles monopolize my thoughts instead.  Something that'll stick to my ribs, you know?

Dinner's gotta be ultra hearty to stand up to our my raging post-workout metabolism, not to mention the "I'm so hungry I swear I haven't eaten for days" mentality.  And though it's certainly delicious, a quintessential PB&J that comes to mind isn't going to cut it.

(To be clear, I'm not discounting peanut butter.  Within 30 seconds of walking in the door, famished, I've usually made my way to the kitchen and helped myself to a spoonful of the stuff.  Peanut butter = essential to life!)

But sometimes -- I'm going to say the thing you're not supposed to say as a food blogger -- I'm just not in the mood to fuss with everything.

Please don't think less of me!  I simply don't want to deal with the dishes and the prep and the whole nine yards.  Is that so wrong?

I want to round up the parts, assemble 'em just so, and devour the even-more-delicious-than-the-parts whole.  Which seems nearly impossible when you consider that the parts are yummy caramelized onions, could-make-cardboard-appetizing pesto, deli turkey, and provolone cheese.

And yet... and yet... THIS!  This is a sandwich worth fighting for.  A sandwich that deserves its own plate and your undivided attention.

Forget the notion of a side salad.  This sandwich is all you need in life.  Salty, chewy, herby, tasty.  It hits all the marks. 

This sandwich will fill you up!  Physically.  Emotionally.  Sandwiches are total comfort food, and this one is like a giant pillow on which I'd like to rest my weary head.  So I can stop worrying about saying all the wrong things and just chill out, already.  Everybody loves a good sandwich :)

One year ago: Creamy taco pasta
Three years ago: Mom's famous banana muffins

Turkey, Onion & Pesto Panini
-makes 1 large sandwich

A few notes: Depending on the type of roll you choose, this makes a pretty sizable sandwich.  It feeds one as a whole meal or two when cut in half and served with a salad or bowl of soup.  You decide!  Also, if you don't have a panini press, the sandwich can be prepared just like you would a traditional grilled cheese in a skillet, just find something heavy to place on top, like a cast iron skillet.  Finally, I caramelized an entire onion for another recipe and had half left to use for this sandwich.  The caramelized onions can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheated when necessary.

1 sandwich bun or roll (I used chewy ciabatta)
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Pinch granulated sugar
Scant 1/4 pound shaved oven roasted turkey
2 Tablespoons prepared pesto
2 slices provolone cheese

In a skillet over medium heat, add onions and pinch of sugar, tossing to combine.  Cook, stirring frequently, until brown and caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Preheat Griddler to high.  Brush outer halves of roll with olive oil and place oil side down on a cutting board.  To assemble sandwich, spread pesto on one half and arrange onions on it.  Top with cheese and finally turkey.  Cap with remaining half of roll and press together.  Place on Griddler, close top, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese has melted, bread is crisp, and sandwich is warm.  Remove, cut in half, and enjoy immediately!

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