In an effort to reduce carbs, I decided to make an open face sandwich. What I really wanted was a big panini layered with cheese and meat on slabs of ciabiatta. What I made was something healthier, but equally good.
I started with my favorite high-fiber whole grain bread from Beckmann’s. Their breads are stocked in most grocery stores near other specialty breads and they often have a stand at our local farmer’s market. I prefer their German Farm Bread which is round and thinly sliced. It’s hearty and toasts up nice and crisp. I love crispy toast, especially when smeared with buter and chopped egg … we’ll save that for another day.
The bread went into toaster while I sliced up some vegetables for the sandwich. Since my plan didn’t involve actually grilling the sandwich, I wanted vegetables that could stand up to grilling and opted for zucchini and peppers. The zucchini I sliced thinly and made similar slices of an orange sweet pepper. I drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and turned them to coat. I heated my panini maker to the recommended temperature then laid the vegetables in a single layer. I closed the lid on the grill and let them go until they began to soften and took on grill marks.
After I removed the vegetables, I sliced the ends off of a lemon, then sliced it in half. I placed it into the panini grill to attain grill marks (call it my homage to Bobby Flay). I went to work on assembling the sandwich, placing fresh basil leaves on the toast followed by layers of provolone cheese and the strips of zucchini and peppers. I finished it off with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, and a tiny sprinkle of red pepper flakes. I placed it under the broiler for a minute or two to slightly brown the cheese.
I removed the lemon from the panini grill, the natural sugars nicely caramelized. I placed it alongside my sandwich so I could lend a squirt of the juice on top. It turned out perfectly — crispy toast protected by the basil leaves, slightly soft grilled vegetables tangled with creamy provolone cheese … with just a kick of the red pepper flakes. Yum – now that my belly is full, I’m tired. Do I have to back to work or can I just take a nap?