Recently I somehow stumbled on a food blog dedicated solely to paninis, PaniniHappy.com. Actually I think I found out from a link on Aggie's Kitchen. We love paninis, and I'm always looking for new variations. After my cheese making class I had some goat cheese (which at some point will be its own post) I wanted to use, so I checked out the panini blog for some ideas. I found a recipe for a Grilled Vegetable Panini that was pretty similar to what I wanted to do, so I used it as a basis. We needed to go to Trader Joe's, so I planned on picking up a bag of their frozen grilled zucchini and eggplant mix, but wouldn't you know they were out of it. So I bought an eggplant and a package of zucchini (really reasonably priced, by the way) and figured I'd grill my own. I still had some TJ panini rolls left in the freezer, so I used those for the sandwiches.
Grilled Vegetable Paninis
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
3 small to medium zucchini sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
Goat cheese (chevre)
Slices of mozzarella
Combine eggplant and zucchini slices in a large bowl. In separate small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, and garlic. Whisk to combine, then pour over vegetables in large bowl and toss to combine. Let marinate at least one hour.
Prepare grill or grill pan. Grill vegetables in batches, approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. Remove to plate and finish grilling vegetables.
To assemble sandwiches, spread layer of chevre on bottom half of panini roll (or bread of your choosing). Top with layers of vegetables, then a slice of mozzarella. Place top half of sandwich roll on sandwich and place the whole thing in a panini press for 3-4 minutes or until grill lines appear and mozzarella is melted.
Mmmmmmmmm...this was so good!! We had a bit of a grill mishap, so I ended up having to use my grill pan inside. Some of the crazy storms we had this winter kept knocking over our grill, so we need to do a little maintenance on it to get it ready for grilling before we can use it. It worked out okay on the grill pan, just took a lot longer since I had to do smaller batches.
The chevre I used was what I had made at my cheese class. It was really yummy, although it was slightly more work than the other cheeses because you have to let it sit for longer, and it requires a special packet of something. I'll probably have to post about the cheese class tomorrow because I still have two posts left to do today, and the boy is getting antsy being in his room for quiet time.
Anyway, these were super tasty!!! The husband and I loved them. They were really filling, too. I did two layers each of zucchini and eggplant. I would definitely make this again--filling, healthy, vegetarian--love it!! Although I much prefer the convenience of the frozen veggies from Trader Joe's over having to do it myself.
The panini rolls I like:
My vegetables marinating. I tossed them around every now and then during the course of the hour.
Grilling the veggies on my grill pan. God bless the inventor of the grill pan.
Mmmmm...big pile of grilled veggies!!
Even more mmmmmm...cheesy, yummy grilled vegetable panini!!