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Dine-In: Friday Night Panini Party

This morning I asked my 13-year-old, Smith, what he wanted for dinner tonight, thinking he’d answer “Steak and Potatoes!” I think both of my sons would eat steak and potatoes every single night if I would cook it for them.

But Smith surprised me by saying he just wanted a sandwich and chips. This is the same child who never, ever wanted me to pack sandwiches in his brown bag lunches for school, so I couldn’t quite figure out why his sudden interest in the very thing he had refused to eat for the last nine months.

Then I figured it out…he and a friend had just eaten at a local restaurant that makes some of the best Paninis I’ve ever had. In case you are not familiar, a Panini is an Italian pressed and toasted sandwich, filled with pretty much meat, cheese and vegetables you like.

Smith had ordered and enjoyed a roast beef Panini and was craving it again, so I did a little research and experimenting to get as close as I could to the description he gave me from the restaurant. I like this one on a baguette, but a wonderfully thick artisan-style sourdough bread would work just fine as well.


Friday Night Paninis 

2 French-style baguette loaves, cut in half and then split lengthwise
1/2 cup store-bought mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 Tbs bottled prepared horseradish
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 lbs thinly sliced roast beef
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup purchased steak sauce

Preheat an electric Panini press or heavy skillet. In a small mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, horseradish and garlic. Spread the cut sides of each piece of bread with the mayonnaise mixture.

On the bottom half of each sandwich, place a slice of Cheddar. Arrange the roast beef evenly on top, then top with another slice of cheese. Place top bread half over sandwich.

Once preheated, brush cooking surface of Panini press or skillet with olive oil. Place the sandwiches in the Panini press and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cook one sandwich at a time if necessary.

Using tongs or a spatula, transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and, with the bread knife, cut them diagonally in halves. Transfer to serving plates and pass with warmed steak sauce.

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