Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ham, Cheddar and Fig Panini's with Balsamic Field Greens

Summer has arrived in full force here in RI and the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on. The solution? A hearty panini with a light salad on the side.

OF course you could stuff a panini with whatever you have on hand and to me, as long as the cheese is ooey gooey and the bread is crisp and tasty, you're good! I opted for a combo of honey ham, sharp cheddar, and fig preserves. Combined with the toasty bread, it was a sure winner.

The salad lets you get creative too but tonight I went with a reenactment of a salad that Mr. TL and I while photographing a wedding a few weeks back. It was the perfect combination of field greens, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and goat cheese. Dressed with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette and you have a guaranteed winner.

Enjoy :)

Ham, Cheddar and Fig Panini's with Balsamic Field Greens

Panini's (Yield: 3 sandwiches)
1/2 lb deli ham (I used honey ham)
1/2 lb cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
3 tablespoons fig preserves
6 slices dense bread (I used a sourdough)
extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Preheat your panini grill to medium heat and brush with extra virgin olive oil.
Spread 1/2 tablespoon of fig preserves on each piece of bread.
Layer the ham and cheese accordingly on each piece of bread and form a sandwich.
Brush both sides of the sandwich with oil and place on the panini grill.
Cook 5-7 minutes or until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted.

1 bag of mixed field greens
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted
balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)

Wash field greens through your salad spinner and allow to dry.
Toss greens with balsamic vinaigrette and then top with goat cheese, cranberries, and almonds.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
(adapted from Oprah.com)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp agave nectar
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and agave nectar in a blender.
With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil through the opening in the lid to process into a thick dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
The dressing can be made up to 1 week ahead, stored in a covered container and refrigerated. Stir well before using.

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