Monday, September 26, 2011

Smoked Turkey Apple Panini

I love sandwiches, don't you?  For one thing, they're a great excuse to eat potato chips, my all-time guilty addiction.  You may have heard me say I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but chips are my vice.  I can't keep them in the house or they're mysteriously gone within a few days.  Thin tortilla chips are good, but kettle chips are the best.  One of the mental games I play involves choices for my Last Meal (assuming I'm aware it is my last meal and have time to plan, of course).  Various components have changed over time but two that remain constant are potato chips and a lobster tail with lots of melted butter (not margarine, no-no-no!, it has trans fats as my friends Ron and Susie explained to me recently).  Some sort of cheese would have to be part of the meal also.

Sorry, back to sandwiches.  I particularly like this recipe for several reasons.  First, it tastes wonderful.  Second, it has a combination of textures (crunchy bread, gooey cheese(!), crisp apple, tender turkey) that's very appealing.  Third, heating the sandwich highlights the horseradish flavor without it becoming too strong.  And finally, it has a surprising combination of ingredients which makes it interesting.  When was the last time you had cabbage and apple in your sandwich?  It's kind of like a Reuben gone wild. 

It's apple time of the year, so simply choose your favorite for this sandwich.  I've never understood why so many recipes will specify a type of apple, especially if it doesn't have to cook down to a particular texture.  I've tried crisp sweet and tart apples in this sandwich with equal success - it all boils down to personal preference.

I tried heating the sandwiches two different ways - on a panini press, and wrapped in foil in the oven.  The foil-wrapped version was very good but was missing the crunch of the grilled bread.  It also didn't get quite as hot in the interior so the horseradish was more subtle.  Who knew there would be such a difference from two heating methods?  The one big advantage of heating them in the oven, however, is that you can do  them all at the same time.  I used that method to prepare a batch of these sandwiches at a deck-cleaning "party" last spring.  They were gone quickly!

This is so easy it's not really even a recipe, it's more just an ingredient list and assembly instructions.

** click here for a printable recipe version **

Smoked Turkey Apple Panini
Serves 4

1/3 cup sour cream (light works fine)
¼ cup horseradish
8 slices caraway rye bread
8 oz thinly sliced deli smoked turkey
6 ounces thinly sliced plain Havarti cheese
½ cup thinly sliced cabbage (bagged coleslaw mix works great)
1 apple
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the sour cream and horseradish thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Preheat a Panini press, a griddle or a frying pan. (Or see below for oven heating instructions)

Core the apple and cut into the thinnest rounds possible.  Alternately (if you don’t have an apple corer) cut the apple into thin rounds and then cut the core out of each with a knife.  Cut each round in half.  In a small bowl toss the apple slices with the lemon juice to prevent browning. 

Place the bread slices on a work surface and spread each with horseradish sauce. On half the bread slices, layer (in order) the smoked turkey, apple slices, cheese, and cabbage.  Place the remaining bread slices on top.

Cook the sandwiches on the Panini press or griddle for about 5 minutes.  If using a frying pan you will probably want to add some margarine unless the pan is non-stick.  Serve hot. 
To heat in the oven, wrap each sandwich in foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Assembled through apple layer

Fully assembled and ready to cook

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