By Dana Shultz for DietsInReview.com
If you’ve ever had a panini then you know the melty, crispy goodness that is this simple, rustic sandwich. Soft bread toasted on the outside and stuffed full of hearty ingredients that seem to meld together perfectly when pressed under the heat. All other sandwiches seem to pale in comparison.
I used to think you could only get paninis at cafes and delis, that is, until I tried making them at home. I had no idea it was so simple and would yield such cafe-worthy results. And I’m not talking about using an overpriced panini press that takes up half of your counter and gets dusted off twice a year. I’m talking about using tools you likely have on hand in your home right now that can make a delicious panini that would rival any deli in your city. Friends, I’ve gone homemade and I’m never going back.
Paninis come in all flavors, shapes and sizes. This particular panini is made with a waffle instead of bread. We used our own homemade apple cinnamon oat waffles recipe, but crispy bread will do just fine. Inside the waffle is tart green apples, salty prosciutto, creamy swiss cheese, and loads of fresh spinach.
The ingredients may sound non-traditional, but the flavor is sensational. The waffle provides a slightly sweet, crisp outer layer while the prosciutto, apples and spinach meld in to savory goodness with the creamy swiss cheese. I topped mine off with a hearty grainy mustard to add a spicy kick, but sauce is by no means necessary. There’s plenty of flavor going on without it.
The best part about this sandwich? It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is customizable to what you have on hand. Don’t have any prosciutto? Sub turkey. Not a meat fan? Go for hummus instead. No apples on hand? Sub pears. The options are endless. Plus, it’s way healthier than your average sandwich subbing low-fat spreadable cheese for higher-fat versions, and relying on thin prosciutto instead of heavier meats like bacon and salami.
It’s also sophisticated enough to serve to guests, be it brunch or a shower, and simple enough to give to your kids and family. Sounds like a waffle panini win-win to us.
Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis
4 homemade apple cinnamon oat waffles recipe 2 wedges Laughing Cow Spreadable Swiss Cheese 1/2 green apple, cored and thinly sliced 6 slices of prosciutto (or sub ham for similar taste) 2 handfuls fresh spinach 2 Tbsp. grainy dijon mustard (optional)
1. Preheat an electric skillet to 350 degrees F, or warm a large skillet over medium heat. 2. If you prefer a toastier sandwich, toast your waffles in the toaster until just slightly golden brown before assembling sandwich. However, it’s not necessary if your’e OK with a softer panini. 3. Lay the waffles out and spread two with one wedge spreadable swiss cheese each.
4. Top with 3 pieces of prosciutto, 1/4 sliced apple, and a handful of spinach on each. Top with the other waffle half and place on skillet.
5. Lay a piece of foil across the waffle and place another heavy pan on top to “press” it down. This will meld all of the ingredients together and give it a nice crispy texture. 6. After a few minutes, remove the pan and lift with a spatula to see if it’s brown enough. You want it dark golden brown (not burnt) with a crispy texture. Flip when done and repeat until crisp on the other side.
7. Slice into four pieces and serve with grainy mustard (optional).
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Recipe by Brandi Koskie | Photos by Dana Shultz