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!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Panini with Prosciutto and Roasted-Garlic Spread

This easy, casual dinner for two gives big flavor with no fuss. Roasting garlic is a simple process that brings out that scrumptious, deep garlicky deliciousness and turns an ordinary condiment for sandwiches into something a little special.

For the bread, choose what you like. Just be sure it’s firm, crusty, and wonderfully chewy—not only great-tasting but also ready to stand up to some time in the grill pan. I like to buy a loaf of rustic, country bread (here, it was whole-wheat with a sesame-seed crust) and cut sandwich slices from the middle.

Bread Slices

Serves 2

  • 3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • olive oil, for drizzling and brushing, plus 1 tbsp
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices crusty bread, about 1/3-inch thick and 6 inches long
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 3 oz very thinly sliced prosciutto (about 4 slices)
  • 4 thin red onion slices
  • flat-leaf parsley leaves, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350° F.
  2. Place the garlic cloves on a small piece of aluminum foil and fold the edges up to form a square packet. Drizzle the cloves with a little oil and sprinkle with salt. Fold over the edges of the foil, sealing tightly.
  3. Set the packet on a small shallow baking pan and roast until the garlic is very tender, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully open the packet, and let cool until easily handled. 
  4. Break open the skin of the cooled garlic cloves and squeeze the pulp into a small bowl. Mash with a fork to pulverize. 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, mayonnaise, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Ready to Roast
Roasted Garlic 
Mashed Roasted Garlic
Roasted-Garlic Spread
  1. Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Spread all 4 slices with the roasted-garlic mixture. Divide the cheese on each of 2 slices and divide the prosciutto on top of the cheese, folding as needed.
  2. Top with onion slices and parsley and close the sandwiches, pressing down gently.
  3. Heat a grill pan (or heavy skillet) over medium-high heat and brush lightly with olive oil. Place the panini in the pan and place a grill press on top (or use a small, heavy skillet as a press).
  4. Grill until the bread shows grill marks on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill, continuing to press, until the sandwiches are hot throughout and the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes longer.
Bread with Garlic Spread

Cheese and Prosciutto Layers
Onion and Parsley Added
Ready to Grill
Beginning to Grill 
After Turning
To serve, place the panini on a cutting board and cut each diagonally in half. Serve right away.

Panini with Prosciutto and Roasted-Garlic Spread

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