Monday, November 2, 2009

No Room For a Panini Press, No Problem

Our apartment has a tiny kitchen so everything has to be a multitasker.
I love cast iron cookware, it is versatile, properly seasoned non-stick and virtually indestructible.  We have a 11" round griddle pan and a 12" frying pan.
The griddle pan is ideal for anything you need to flip and doesn't need much oil to fry in, like pancakes, and eggs. It's also fun for fajitas but not as limited as the small fajita pans and a pizza peel works great as a serving platform.
The big fry pan is great for fried chicken (yum) and searing meat and doing stir fries.

My favorite trick, one that I got from Alton Brown, is to use them together to make pressed sandwiches: panini, croque monsieur and grilled cheese.

After church we wanted something fast, so I created a new twist on the old trick and did quesadillas. Get the pans hot over high heat for about 5 minutes or when they begin to smoke. Remove from the heat and place a tortilla down on the griddle (work fast), drop some grated cheese all over, some thawed chopped spinach and a pinch of salt, top with another tortilla and top with the frying pan. Let sit for 5 minutes or until you hear the cheese oozing out of the sides and sizzling. Carefully scrape off with a spatula and enjoy.

If you really want panini with the grill marks just use a grill pan with the ridges and serve marked side up.