Panini Sun…Thursday: Chicken saltimbocca panini

In response to The Wife’s request for something lighter, I opted to cancel tonight chicken orzotto with asparagus in lieu of a panini. Yes, we did them on Sunday, but they are quick, versatile, and when you have the right ingredients, they can open up the doors to try new stuff.

In my fridge, I had a chunk of gruyere cheese, a bag of baby spinach, some prosciutto and leftover rotisserie chicken from the night before. Add in a loaf of Italian bread, and we had the formula for dinner.

I call it chicken saltimbocca because it has all the ingredients of a personal favorite dish. Traditionally, chicken is pounded to paper thin, wrapped in prosciutto, topped with a salty cheese and pan roasted in a wine sauce with some sort of green. It’s really a saltlover’s dream, but this time it’s on a sandwich. The gruyere doesn’t get a chance to melt and get stringy and gooey, which is good. The sandwich holds its form and stays away from being too messy.

WHAT WORKED: Leftovers. This was a leftover extravaganza that helped cut down on the refrigerator contents by quite a bit.

WHAT DIDN’T: After dinner, I leaned back on my stool and lightly seared the back of my arm on the cooling, yet very hot, panini grill.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This is very good. What am I eating?”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, but what makes this good is that it can be made with any combination of meat and cheese if chicken and prosciutto are not available. This would probably work with ham, roasted turkey and a mild cheddar. Oooooh…

Chicken saltimbocca panini
By Jared Paventi

  • loaf of French bread (not a baguette)
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
  • 1/4 lb. gruyere cheese, cut into small slices
  • baby spinach
  • flavor-infused olive oil (I used garlic)

Preheat the panini grill.

Cut the bread into thirds and store one of the sections for later use. Slice the other sections and set aside.

Lay one slice of prosciutto flat. Spread a small handful of chicken on it and top with another slice of prosciutto. Fold in half. Repeat so that you have four bundles.

Open a section of bread and distribute the cheese to create an even layer. Add two bundles of the chicken and prosciutto, and arrange so it covers the cheese. Add a layer of baby spinach and spread evenly over the chicken bundles. Top with the other slice of bread and lightly coat with the olive oil. Follow the instructions to build the second sandwich.

Place on the panini grill and press flat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice in half and serve hot.

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