Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pork Panini with Roasted Red Peppers

Panini is plural for panino, bread roll, in Italian. The word itself creates a visual image of crunchy grilled bread with dark crisscross marks on the outside, and hot tasty meat, roasted vegetables and oozing cheese on the inside.

Yesterday I pulled four thin cut pork loin boneless chops out of the freezer. The thin cut serves especially well for sandwiches, as it cooks quicker. And with four crunchy rolls from our local Tres Coronas Bakery (more about this place some other time!), we'll have a quick and tasty lunch today. Serves four.

Pork Panini

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced very thin
1 can of mushrooms, 4 oz, drained
4 thin cut pork loins, boneless
1 tablespoon of rosemary (dried or fresh)
4 rolls
4 slices of Swiss or American cheese
roasted red peppers (the dollar stores carries these often, buy some extra next time you're in there!)
salt and pepper

Melt 1/2 of the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan and add the sliced onion, letting it simmer on low until the onion is soft and lightly browned, about ten minutes. Drain the can of mushrooms and add to the onions, simmer on low for five more minutes, add a small pinch of salt and pepper, then push them to one side of the pan.

Lightly salt and pepper the pork chops on both sides and rub in the rosemary. Melt the rest of the oil in the pan and quickly sear the meat on both side, then turn to low. Stir the onions with the mushrooms once or twice to make sure they heat evenly.

Mix the mustard with the mayo, and cut the bread lengthwise, spreading the mayo-mustard on the bottom piece. Slice the roasted red peppers.

Assemble the sandwich as follows: place a piece of pork on the bottom part of the sandwich, on top of the mayo-mustard. Cover the pork with a slice of cheese. Scoop a good helping of onions and mushrooms on top, garnish this with roasted red pepper slices and cover it all with the top part of the sandwich. Place this between the plates of your former-boxer-turned-cooking-fiend countertop grill and grill briefly. You can also use your stovetop grilling pan or skillet, turning it over so both sides will toast evenly. Place a plate on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.

*if you like a bit of heat, put a pinch of red chili flakes on top of your onions before you grill the sandwich

Bon Profito!

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