I love the Frontega Chicken Panini from Panera Bread. I've been meaning to make a similar sandwich at home and today I finally did. It wasn't exactly the same but Jeff and I both thought it was pretty good, and definitely one to make again!
I used Sandy's Focaccia Bread from the Magnolia Lane cookbook, p. 217. It is a bread machine recipe, but I don't have a bread machine so here's how I make it:
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/8 c. warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3 1/3 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in water. (I run my water as hot as it goes.) Add salt, sugar, oil, and about one cup of flour. Use a whisk (I use my Kitchenaid mixer) to mix until well blended. Add the rest of the flour and knead for 8 minutes. Raise for about an hour or until doubled. Now at this point, the recipe says to pat onto a jelly roll size pan (like flat bread). Poke holes into dough using a fork. Brush with additional oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Instead, I made several smaller balls and pressed them down. (I didn't add the garlic salt or parmesan this time but I did when I used this same recipe for hamburgers the other day. It was awesome!)
Now, for the panini itself you'll need:
- Chicken, pulled or very thinly sliced (preferably smoked. I used leftover chicken that I had boiled for a soup)
- Onion, sliced thin (you can use raw red onion but since I don't care for raw onions, I just caramelized sweet onions instead)
- Tomato, sliced thin
- Provolone cheese (or whatever cheese you like!)
- Fresh basil (I forgot to buy this!! I sprinkled a small amount of dried basil on top of the cheese instead)
- Chipotle mayonnaise (combine about one cup of mayo with two to three chopped chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce))
Slather both pieces of fococcia bread with the chipotle mayo and layer everything on. Brush both sides of the panini with oil. I have a panini press for the stove so I used that but if you don't have that (does anyone else have one of those...?) :) you can use a heavy pan and put another heavy pan, or plate or whatever, on top of the sandwich and weigh it down with a can of soup....or any other heavy object.
I also made homemade potato "chips." I poured just enough (safflower) oil on a cookie sheet to cover the entire bottom and laid thinly sliced potatoes in a single layer. I sprinkled them with sea salt and baked them at 400 degrees for...a long time. I never really keep track of cooking time. I just flipped them about every 10 minutes to make sure they weren't sticking to the pan, and to make sure both sides were getting crispy.
Aaaah...that was an easy lunch. Not. To tell you the truth, I don't really mind. I love to cook and bake and it's been kind of a challenge lately (in a good way) to make as many things from scratch as possible.
A few things I would change to make this panini even better:
- Use smoked chicken! I have no idea how I would be able to smoke chicken in this apartment, short of buying it, I didn't really have that option.
- Use rosemary and onion focaccia bread (recipe to follow) I don't have any rosemary...I really need to get that considering I've seen a few recipes lately that I've wanted to try
- Chop the chipotle peppers smaller. I thought the size I had chopped them in would be fine but now I wish I had pulled out my food chopper. You might like them bigger though, I'm not a huge fan of spicy food, although I should mention that Jeff said they were not spicy at all.
- Make the chipotle mayo ahead of time. I had made it this morning, but it may have been better to make it the night before to let the flavors blend a little more. Maybe.
1 tsp. yeast
3/4 warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 c. flour
Mix together all ingredients in bread machine on dough cycle or in mixer until well blended. Pat dough onto a baking sheet dusted with flour, cornmeal, or lightly oiled. Dimple dough with the end of a wooden spoon. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper, rosemary and parmesan cheese. Let dough rise about 15-20 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees til golden brown about 10-15 minutes.
If you use Sara's recipe, you can omit the parmesan and instead press a few rings of yellow onion into the top of the dough.
I'm realizing as I type this that Sara's recipe only calls for 15-20 minutes of rising time. Is this typical of focaccia? Maybe you shouldn't rise it for an hour as I stated for Sandy's recipe. Feel free to let me know if you have some expertise in the matter! ;)
Wow, this is one long post considering it's all for a sandwich! Try it though, before you call me crazy. It is quite tasty!