Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pancetta Panini with Grilled Bell Pepper

Do it all in one pan. These warm, casual, cheesy, smoky sandwiches come together in a single grill pan, start to finish. When you make panini, choose only a few ingredients so that the rolls are easy to flatten in the pan. That said, make sure those few ingredients are very flavorful.

For this recipe, smoky grilled bell pepper, pancetta, and creamy provolone cheese are all you need to make tasty, satisfying sandwiches that eat like a full-course meal.

Serves 4

  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin 1-inch strips
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced pancetta
  • 8 slices crusty bread, 5 to 6 inches long
  • 8 thin slices provolone cheese
Panini Ingredients
Bell Pepper Strips
  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. Scatter the bell pepper strips in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Grill until soft and slightly charred, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Do not wipe out the pan.
Peppers Beginning to Grill
Grilled Bell Peppers
  1. Working in batches, lay an even layer of pancetta in the pan and grill until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Pancetta Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Pancetta
  1. Lay the bread slices on a work surface and brush all with oil.
  2. Divide the pancetta on 4 slices and top with bell pepper strips. Top with 2 slices of provolone each and place the tops on the sandwiches. Press down gently.
Bread Brushed with Oil 
Pancetta Layer
Bell Pepper Layer 
Cheese Layer
  1. Wipe excess oil from the grill pan and re-heat over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place 2 panini in the pan and place a grill press on top (or use a small, heavy skillet as a press).
  2. Grill until the bread shows grill marks on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill, continuing to press, until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are hot throughout, 2 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining 2 sandwiches.
Panini Beginning to Grill
Panini after Turning
Cut each panini in half on the diagonal and serve.

Pancetta Panini with Grilled Bell Pepper

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