I have been meaning to post a few of my favorite panini recipes for months, but never seemed to get around to it until now. This sandwich, or variations of it, has been a personal favorite of mine for the past couple of years. I was never a huge fan of mortadella for many years as I considered it to be an Italian version of bologna, and I outgrew bologna when I hit my teens. When we bought our Umbrian farmhouse though, I tried many local cured meat specialties since Umbria is famous for its cured meats and salami, and I fell in love with Umbrian mortadella. Our local grocery store sells wonderful locally produced mortadella that is studded with fat, pistachios, and black pepper corns and is creamy in texture and delicious. I often fry my mortadella just a little before I assemble my panini which really brings out the flavor and slightly melts the fat, but in this recipe i heat the panini in a sandwich press which melts the cheese and heats the mortadella perfectly.
If you are not familiar with mortadella, it originated in Bologna, Italy, and is a result of the resourcefulness of the Italian pig farmers as nothing edible on the pig is wasted. Leftover pieces of pork are ground, then mixed with a high quality fat (usually from the throat) and a blend of salt, white pepper, peppercorns, coriander, anise, pieces of pistachio and wine. This mixture is then stuffed into a beef or pork casing depending upon the size of the sausage and cooked according to weight. Outside of Italy, mortadella can be found at many specialty Italian grocery stores.
In this panini, I combine sliced mortadella, sliced young asiago cheese, Dijon mustard, and some of my Chunky Olive Spread which adds a zesty twist to this tasty panini. I use slices of crusty bread, and once the panini is assembled, I lightly brush it with olive oil and grill it on both sides in my panini press until it is golden brown and the cheese has melted. If you do not have a panini press, you can simply cook the panini in a frying pan on top of the stove.
Deborah Mele 2012
- 8 Slices Crusty Italian Bread
- 1/2 Pound Thinly Sliced Mortadella
- 1/2 Pound Sliced Young Asiago (Or Other Melting Cheese Such As Fontina, Asiago, or Gruyere)
- 4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 8 Tablespoons Chunky Olive Spread
- Olive Oil
- Lay out the bread slices and for each panini spread one slice with the Dijon mustard, and the other slice with the olive spread.
- Divide the mortadella and cheese between the four panini and assemble.
- Preheat a panini press, (or frying pan) and lightly brush each side of the panini with the olive oil.
- Cook, turning halfway through, until the panini are golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Slice in half and serve immediately.