Two Years Ago: French Chicken Salad
We went to an outdoor concert the other day and wanted to bring a picnic dinner. I was inspired to make these Italian sandwiches because they have a most interesting combinations of flavors - definitely a big people kind of sandwich - and it's always good to get out of a sandwich rut. The prosciutto is salty, the radicchio and arugula are bitter, the balsamic vinegar is sweet, the mozzarella is creamy, and the artichokes are, well, artichokes. Trust me, it all works together. The original recipe called it a panini although it wasn't grilled, just served fresh. In my book paninis are grilled, which has the advantage of sort of gluing the whole sandwich together with cheese. Otherwise there are a lot of little pieces in the sandwich which could easily fall out. But, if you don't want to grill the sandwich you certainly don't have to.
Radicchio is that little round red guy in the produce department that sort of looks like a small cabbage. Marinating it in balsamic vinegar for a few minutes while you assemble the sandwiches takes away some of the bitterness.
After prepping the artichokes and mozzarella, it's just simple assembly and grilling the sandwiches.
Paninis are always delicious hot off the press, but these sandwiches were equally good wrapped up and enjoyed at the concert. Picnic food!
Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Radicchio Panini
Makes 6 sandwiches
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ head radicchio
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
Two 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
8 ounces baby arugula
12 slices from a loaf of ciabatta bread
Olive oil spray
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive and balsamic vinegar. Season with a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Slice the radicchio into thin ribbons. Add to the vinaigrette and toss together. Set aside to marinate.
Lay the bread out on a work surface and spray lightly with olive oil spray. Turn the slices over and layer half the slices in the following order: prosciutto, artichokes, and mozzarella slices. Add the parsley leaves to the radicchio mixture, toss to combine, and place on top of the mozzarella. Finish with the arugula and top with the remaining bread slices, olive oil side up.
Heat a Panini press and grill until the cheese melts and the bread is toasty and golden, about 3-5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.