One combo which is slightly unusual is salty ham, sliced pear and cheese. I vary my cheeses, but yellow presliced cheeses ranging from swiss to provolone are great. The crunchy sweetness, the salty juiciness and the cheesy sharpness is a great combo. Thank you martha stewart!
Oh - try mango chutney, havarti cheese and rocket leaves. That's a good one too...
Thank you all for your ideas. I'll be sure to try them and post results and any new ideas I get.
As for the question about Forman Grill--the panini maker we have has a hinged back so that is gives an even press whether it is a thin piece of bread or very thick...not sure if the Forman does that.
I use my Krups panini press a lot. Here are some ideas for you that I have done:
--garlic paste, chorizo, roasted poblano chilies, monterey jack cheese
--smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and tomato slices
--prosciutto, mozzarella, pesto, arugula
--fontina, red onion, spinach or arugula
--smoked turkey, blue cheese, red onions, arugula
--butterflied grilled rosemary chicken breast, basil mayo, slow roasted roma tomatoes, smoked fresh mozzarella
so a few years ago i cleaned through my kitchen and sold off any extra gadgets or appliances that hadn't proved their worth. when krups came out with a sassy panini grill, it was a hard call for me. i LOVE paninis! yet, i didn't want to have just another gadget in my kitchen. when i found it marked down at sur la table with the panini book as a free gift, i couldn't resist. i am SO glad i didn't resist. it's proven to be invaluable in our kitchen.
as it turns out, it's become our "have no time tonight to fix a fancy dinner but want something yummy and healthy" answer. i stock panini fixins in my kitchen so that i always have something on hand. fixins may include roasted red peppers, aidell sausages, chicken cutlets, baby spinach or arugula, cheese, avocado, and the obvious bread.
we make all kinds of combinations and both the husband and the kids just love them.
my secret favorite is nutella and bittersweet valhrona on brioche, grilled. yum!
how does it compare to a george foreman? not really sure. all i can tell from friends who have them is that the foreman is smaller, not as well made and the top doesn't feel quite as heavy as a panini grill. but that's all i can offer.
re: Wendy Lai
Kind of the same idea, but of course, panini presses are a lot better looking and more sturdy IMO. Don't own either, but have a feeling that Foreman grill works better for hunks of meat, while panini presses are better for, well, panini. Although, sounds like it works well w/ bacon from post below.
I've had my eye on one at Crate & Barrel which is linked below. Can anyone out there vouch for this model?
Here's a recent show on NPR about Paninis and grilled cheese. Click on "Listen" to hear what they have to say, and also there are a few recipes included on the page.
That Cuban sandwich rec below is a good one...I like:
Roasted eggplant, roasted red bell pepper, whole basil, goat cheese (olive tapenade optional) on ciabatta or foccacia
Maple ham, grated gruyere, and lots o' mustard on sliced country bread
For a sweet treat: Nutella w/ raspberry jam on sweeter bread (I like brioche or challah cut thick), use a bit of butter on outside, sprinkle w/ powdered sugar to finish
I usually make panini using 2 pans (one to press on top), but have considered getting a panini maker b/c it's more convenient. Panini is one of the most delicious quick meals IMO. Have fun!