Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini (with homemade focaccia)

Back into the swing of things....well sort of.  We are back from our much needed trip home, school is back in session, and our list of extra curricular activities seems to be growing.  Busy schedules require easy meals.

I really love sandwiches, especially paninis.  They are quick, satisfying, and can be extremely simple or super gourmet.  Last night I made focaccia bread knowing I would use for paninis this week, but not knowing exactly what kind.  Then in the middle of the night, I woke up thinking chicken cordon bleu!   Yes, sometimes I get my best ideas in the middle of the night. 

So today's scrumptious sandwich is derived from a middle of the night craving.  Now I am going to give a recipe for homemade fococcia, but by all means, use a store bought one if it is easier for you. 

recipe for fococcia  (adapted from food network)

2 tsp. dry yeast
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp. sugar
3 to 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

In a bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar with warm water.  Allow to foam, about five minutes.  Then add the flour, and turn mixer onto low speed, fitted with a dough hook.  After about a minute, add salt and olive oil.  Allow the mixer to knead the dough for about ten minutes.   Once the dough is elastic, turn out onto the counter and knead it onto itself a couple of times.  Place in a greased bowl, turning the dough so all sides are coated, cover with a towel, and let rise about 45 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled in size, roll and stretch the dough to fit onto a standard baking sheet that is lightly sprayed.  Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  With your fingers, dimple the dough (this is great for the kids to help with).  Brush the top with olive oil (about 3 tbsp.) and sprinkle with rosemary and cheese.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

You can stop there, start eating, don't worry I won't judge you ;)  If you wish to make it spectacular, cut a square the size desired for a sandwich.  Slice the fococcia horizontally to give you a top and bottom for a sandwich. (Use a serrated bread knife to make your life easier.)

recipe for chicken cordon bleu panini

focaccia bread
sliced deli ham
thinly sliced chicken breast, grilled
Gruyere or Munster cheese
Dijon mustard

Simply assemble the sandwich with the above listed ingredients.  Either using a panini press (I use my George Foreman grill), or a skillet weighting the sandwich with a brick or heavy pan, toast the sandwich. Mine took about 5 to 6 minutes before all the ingredients are warm and melted.  Enjoy.

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