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Gardener and Gourmet Newsletter

"Panini" literally means "little breads" in Italian, but this sandwich takes on a multitude of forms. The following recipe is an attempt to duplicate the offering of a New Orleans diner.

John's Smoked Turkey and Roasted Vegetable Panini

Normally, we do not mention specific brands of products, but the pocket bread called for below is essential to the special character of the recipe. Substitutions will taste fine, but may not have the crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture that makes this recipe great. The bread is available at Fresh Market in Knoxville. The manufacturer is Father Sam's Syrian Bread, Inc., 105 Monsignor Valente Drive, Buffalo, NY 14206, 800-521-6719.

For one sandwich, you need:
3 slices of zuchinni or summer squash, about four inches long, and about 1/8" thick. Uniformity is important for even cooking.
1 fresh Italian tomato, such as Roma or San Marzano, quartered lengthwise

Place these vegetables in a single layer on a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and roast the vegetables for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Split a "Father Sam's" brand plain white pocket bread into two disks. Brush the cut side of each with 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Layer the vegetables on one piece of bread. Top with a slice or two of smoked turkey. Arrange a few leaves of fresh basil on top of the turkey. Place a slice or two of imported Fontina cheese on top of the basil, and top with the other half of the bread. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat and brush it with a film of olive oil. Place the sandwich, vegetable side down in the pan, cook until the underside begins to brown, checking now and then by lifting with a spatula. Flip with the spatula and cook the other side until the cheese melts and begins to run into the pan. Remove, cut in half and serve immediately with a green salad or some potato chips on the side.

Vary the flavors by using mozzarella, and sprinkle the turkey, the roasted veggies, and both sides of the bread (after brushing with oil) with a light dusting of creole seasoning. This one goes well with a bowl of gumbo, or a pile of French fries.

Gardener and Gourmet Newsletter
October 8, 1998 Vol. 1, No. 14
Copyright (C) 1998, John H. Tullock. All rights reserved.
Published twice a month by Gardener and Gourmet,
3405 East Red Bud Drive, Knoxville, TN 37920-3655
(423) 573-0373

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