Panini with Salami, Fontina, and Baby Spinach

Some days, when work leaves me a little drained, I return home wanting a well-balanced meal that would give me the boost I need.  When work leaves me more than a little drained, I make a feeble attempt, throw together a quick salad or yogurt with granola, and call it dinner.  The only thing I want is to do is to stretch out on the couch, stare blankly at the television, and transform into a root vegetable with arms and legs.

This has been a busy week, but a girl can only survive on salads and yogurt for so long.  Ordering takeout is an option, but not a tempting one when your frequent Seamless so often that your order confirmation emails get mistaken as spam.  There are some leftover cold cuts and cheeses, so I proceed to put together a hot meal.  This panini is probably the first thing that has tasted good this week.

It takes less than ten minutes to put it together before I resume being the said root vegetable with a warm sandwich in one hand and a TV remote in the other.  It’s crispy, crunchy, cheesy, and totally worth the extra effort!

Panini with Salami, Fontina, and Spinach

Any thick-cut, hearty bread
Dijon mustard
Pickled relish
Salami
Fontina cheese
Baby spinach
Olive oil, for grilling

Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard and pickled relish on each slice of bread, then layer cheese on each. Pile a handful of baby spinach on one side of each sandwich, followed by some salami. Heat the sandwich in the microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

Brush both outer sides of sandwiches with olive oil. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat, then add the sandwich and place a piece of foil on top. Set a pot on top of the sandwich and weigh it down with several heavy cans. When the first side is golden brown, flip the sandwich, then replace the foil and weighted pot and cook until the other side is golden brown.

*The microwave step is just to ensure that the sandwich filling is warmed through (don’t you just hate it when you bite into a panini and the cheese or meat is still a bit cold?). If your ingredients are already room temperature, then you can skip this step.

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