Monday, March 21, 2011

Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Panini

I am a great lover of grilled cheese (and cheese in general) so recipe jumped right out at me when I saw it. Essentially a veggie-packed, grown-up grilled cheese this panini is sophisticated way to eat your broccoli and cheese. Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, actually has little in common with broccoli probably and is in the same family as the turnip. Quite similar to turnip greens, broccoli rabe is likely descended from a wild herb in China or the Mediterranean.  Broccoli rabe has a bitter flavor and is complemented well by strong flavors like chili, anchovies, and garlic. Broccoli rabe has a robust texture and can hold up to a strong palate of flavors, but if it's a bit too bitter and assertive for you, this could also be made with spinach.

Provolone and Broccoli Rabe Panini
adapted from Gourmet
makes 4 sandwiches

1 lb broccoli rabe, tough ends discarded
4 flat anchovy fillets, minced
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing bread
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 slices high quality Italian, whole wheat, or multigrain bread
1/2 lb sliced provolone

1. Cook broccoli rabe in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then chop. 

2. Cook anchovies and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. Heat a panini or sandwich press according to manufacturer's instructions until hot. (Alternatively, heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderate heat.)

4. Spray the panini press with olive oil cooking spray or brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil. Place four slices of bread of a work surface (oil side down, if bread was brushed with oil) and divide broccoli rabe mixture evenly between the four slices. Top each with cheese and the second slice of bread (oiled side up, if applicable).

5. Put sandwiches on press, then pull down top onto sandwiches and cook until sandwiches are browned and crisp, 4 to 8 minutes. (If using grill pan, put a heavy pan on top of sandwiches and cook, turning sandwiches over once.)

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