This sandwich has only three ingredients (four, if you include the canola oil). When you think about it, I guess, there are quite a few sandwiches that only have three ingredients or less: peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, BLT, tomato and mayo…but rarely does one come across a three-ingredient sandwich that is so pleasing in flavor, so enjoyable, so complete, that it lacks nothing. After those high descriptors, I really hope you like this sandwich.
Before you dive right in and throw it on the George Foreman, let me warn you: the type of bread you use is EVERYTHING. The first time I made this, it was on When Pigs Fly Harvest Bread (all you New Englanders, use this for the panini). It has just the right amount of chewy-crispy texture. The second time, I used Nature’s Promise Granola Bread from the grocery store. The flavor was not bad, but the texture left much to be desired. It wasn’t chewy enough, and it quickly dried out on the grill. The third time around, I used Cranberry Pecan bread that I bought at the Mill Valley General Store in Baltimore. This was just as good as the first round, so I’m sticking with it. Look for bakery-quality bread that has whole grains and, ideally, dried fruit and nuts. Texture is everything: don’t settle for everyday bread with lots of preservatives on the ingredients list. Use fresh and store it in the refrigerator if you don’t think you can use it before it spoils. Toasted, you won’t even be able to tell it was once refrigerated.
Ok, now, enough about the perfect bread. The good news is you can use normal provolone cheese and normal pears (though I used red, because they look nicer in the sandwich). You can also prepare the Panini in a variety of ways. I used a mini George Foreman Grill to get the nice char marks on the bread. You can also make the sandwich in a grill pan on the stove, toast the bread separate and then zap the whole thing in the microwave, or assemble the sandwich and toast it in a toaster oven.
Pear and Provolone Panini
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices high quality whole grain bread that contains dried fruit and nuts
1 ripe, red pear
4 slices provolone cheese
1) Heat a George Foreman Grill and spray or brush lightly with canola oil.
2) Place 1 slice of provolone cheese on 1 slice of bread. Thinly slice half of the pear and arrange on top of the cheese. Place the other slice of cheese on the pears, and cover with a piece of bread. Repeat for the second sandwich.
3) Place sandwiches on the George Foreman Grill and close. Let grill for a couple of minutes and then turn the sandwiches around so that each end gets grilled evenly. Cook for about 1 minute longer.
4) Cut sandwiches in half and serve with Kale Salad, if desired. What a simple meal!
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