I should be sleeping, or at the very least showered and in my jammies since I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. The day starts with Isabella’s 1st grade graduation and end of year party, before heading to my younger sister’s highschool graduation in Pennsylvania.
Oh, and there’s two kids to wake in the morning, breakfast to be made, one lunch to be packed and much writing to be done before I hit the road to very likely get stuck in Jersey Shore traffic.
I feel pooped just thinking about it all. Yet, I’m here, getting ready to tell you about a sandwich I discovered a few months ago. It wasn’t at a fancy restaurant, and didn’t even require a trip to the island of Manhattan. In fact, my commute was all of 11 steps to the pantry.
Remember that sweet and savory tomato jam I canned last year? Well, it’s all gone now, and that’s mostly due to this darn sandwich. Breville sent me my very first panini press a few months ago, and it coincided with a caprese craving—you know that classic Italian pairing of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Except it was the end of March and tomatoes were way off. Basil was still rubbing the sleep from its eyes too. But I had two jars of that jam left, and some of this amazing spinach I’d sauteed as a side to serve with our Passover brisket. The last piece of the puzzle was fresh mozzarella, which I luckily have access to year-round, handmade at a family-run Italian shop just a few blocks away.
I had also been making a lot of bread, and this Parmesan Scallion Boule nicely compliments the ingredients, though it isn’t a requirement. All you really need to enjoy this is an unabashed love of tomatoes and melted, gooey cheese, nestled between layers of toasted golden bread.
tomato jam, mozzarella and spinach panini
Katchie Farms makes a tomato jam insanely close in flavor to the one I make, so stock up until tomatoes come into season and you can make it yourself.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup packed baby spinach, well rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon raisins
4 slices, country or white pullman bread
3 tablespoons tomato jam
3 to 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Heat olive oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and raisins and saute until raisins are plump and the spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat cast iron skillet over medium flame, or alternately preheat your panini grill.
Meanwhile, arrange two slices of bread on a countertop or cutting board. Slather an equal amount of tomato jam on each slice. Top with equal amounts of mozzarella slices. Arrange equals amounts of spinach on top of cheese. Top with remaining slices of bread.
Place sandwich into hot skillet and use a heavy-bottomed skillet or pot to weight it down, or alternately place it into your heated panini press. If using the manual stovetop method, turn the sandwich once the underside is nicely browned, return heavy-bottomed pot on top of sandwich and continue to cook until golden on other side. Serve hot.