Apple/chicken panini without a machine!

Okay, this is probably more of a technique post than an actual recipe post because you can do whatever in the sammies.  I love pressed sandwiches, but don’t want to shell out the $$ for a press or give up any counter space for said machine.    So what is a girl to do?  Improvise!

The key to a pressed sandwich filling is to have something that will glue the halves together.  I chose to use the following fillings in my sammie:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Thinly sliced granny smith apple (used a mandolin)
  • A laughing cow wedge
  • Honey mustard (mixed myself – about 1 tsp)

You will also need 2 frying pans.  One for the bottom cooking, which can be whatever.  The other pan needs to be heavy or you could alternatively put a weight on it.  A cast iron skillet is ideal for this.

While you are assembling the sandwich, put the heavy pan on high heat as you want it very hot:

This is my baby cast iron skillet, since I was just making one sandwich.

You want to heat up the other pan on medium or medium-high heat.

Spread the laughing cow cheese on the whole slice, then layer apples on one side and chicken on the other:

I put the honey mustard in between these layers for the “ooze factor.”  Close the sandwich up and press lightly together.

Spray the cooking skillet with non stick spray and drop the sandwich on:

Spray the top of this sandwich with cooking spray and then put the very hot 2nd skillet on top.  It will sizzle. Please note that if you use cast iron, the handle will be hot – so use a hot mitt.

Side note – you can see the peanuts I was munching on last night in the background LOL! 😳

You can either press down on the handle or put a heat proof weight on this pan if you don’t have one heavy enough.   (I pressed on this because you can see it was a little lopsided). The idea is to meld everything together and heat through.  This is why you don’t want the first pan to be too hot or the bottom half will burn.  Cook for several minutes.  It might depend a bit on what you have in the sandwich and how cold the ingredients are.

If you lubed up the sandwich enough on top, the pan shouldn’t stick to it.  Plate up and enjoy!

The sandwich gets nice and crusty on top.

The key to the panini is “less is more.”  Thinner sandwiches are better so all ingredients get hot.

Alton Brown does a grilled cheese sandwich this way using shredded cheese.

Another favorite combo of mine is cooked turkey/chicken, laughing cow wedge, and cranberry sauce!

What would you put in your panini?

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14 thoughts on “Apple/chicken panini without a machine!

  1. Biz

    Love this idea Lori! I am a cast iron whore – I have about 7 right now, and for some reason when I see them at garage sales all rusted up, I can’t help but bring it back to life!

    I use my husbands circular sander, remove all the rust, lube it up all over with vegetable oil and then bake it at 250 for an hour. It seasons right back up 😀

    Best combo for me: lean corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and fat free thousand island – yum!
    .-= Biz´s last blog ..Perfect Scalloped Potatoes =-.

  2. Kelly

    I love this technique! I am going to share this as a creative way to re-invent a classic lunch staple, the sandwich. I am also a big, big fan of turkey with apple. A local bakery near me makes a heated sandwich with a baguette, turkey, granny smith apple, and a house made mayo with greens that is just amazing. For a healthier version, I will try the laughing cow cheese idea with whole wheat bread at home. I can’t wait to try it!

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