When you decide to buy a Panini press, typically you only have one thing on your mind – those gooey, warm, toasted pressed sandwiches known as Panini’s. Usually, you buy a Panini press for that sole purpose, but a good kitchen tool is a multi-tool. Something you can use for more than one type of food. Thankfully, even if you don’t think of it, most Panini press creators do and create their product in such a way so that you can use it for more than just sandwiches.
However, while your impressive Panini press can make quite the impression on your sandwiches, what are other things you can do with it?
It is not a far leap from pressed sandwiches to quesadilla. In fact, if you have mastered your Taco Bell quesadilla copycat recipe, it may be the very first thing you do with your Panini press. Like the Panini, there are hundreds of different ways to enjoy quesadilla with recipes ranging from super healthy to decadent junk food. However, unlike making a quesadilla in a skillet or trying to blunder through it with an oven, there is no better way to get those nice grill marks than with a Panini press.
If you haven’t sampled the simple pleasure that is grilled peaches, then we’re sad to say that you haven’t fully lived yet. While weaker fruit like pears or cherries may be best drowned in a flavorful drink, juicy and more robust fruit like peaches, pineapple, and even strawberries are sturdy enough to stand up to a little heat. Since they are primarily packed with natural sugar, they caramelize and your get a fascinating new flavor. However, doing it on the grill only gets that good even caramelization on one side, so why not make it perfect in your Panini maker?
Everyone knows how easy it is to cook awesome bacon on a Panini press, but that is far from the only breakfast treat you can cook on there. It is actually easier to cook great hash browns in a Panini press then in the oven or on the skillet. You want them nice and crispy, and a Panini press is a way to do that evenly.
Pressed Tofu and Other Vegetarian Goodies
Panini’s are great, but if it hasn’t happened already, there may come a day when you decide you want to treat your body a little better. However, even if that lofty New Year’s resolution doesn’t work out, you can still get a lot of use out of your Panini press during that time. You can use it on a number of healthy options, but vegetables and tofu work out the best.
Tofu, for example, absorbs more flavor the more water that is pressed out of it, so not only can you do that by toasting it, but you can press the moisture out just by sitting it in there and leaving the machine off. As for vegetables, you get those excellent char marks for flavor, and vegetables that are cooked without all the nutrients being boiled out of them.
This is one of those foods that you think wouldn’t work in a Panini press, but totally does. You just have to make sure not to overfill it or you will have omelet oozing out the sides. Just beat some eggs, mix in your fixings, pour, and press. Be sure to properly grease the plates before, though.
Don’t fancy going outside in the snow to enjoy one of your favorite summer grill foods? With a Panini press, meat, fruit, and vegetable-laden kababs can be an any season food when you press them. However, you still have to soak the skewers (if you are using the wooden ones) because most Panini presses that don’t have temperature control get pretty hot.
If you can toast a sandwich and cook an omelet on your Panini maker, then naturally you can make French toast, a food that is something close to a combination of a two. However, the fact that you can make easy French toast on your Panini press opens up a whole new world of opportunities. From French toast made of any bread you can dream of to the lucrative French toast sandwich, the culinary future of your Panini maker is in your hands.
Before you get all kinds of crazy ideas, not all cookie recipes will work in a Panini maker. Some cookies need to rise as they bake and putting them in a Panini Press means that they will come out as crumbs. Cookies like chocolate chip work alright, but they don’t look the best. The best cookie recipe is a simple waffle cone batter or a sugar cookie. The waffle cone bakes up perfectly and sugar cookies get nice and toasty. They taste good, too, providing you don’t like the fluffy kind of sugar cookies. Really if you are making pressed cookies, typically you have another idea for them in mind like filling them with ice cream or some kind of delicious frosting.
The general rule of thumb for weird things to do with a Panini press is if you can put it on a skillet or a grill, you can press it. Crab cakes fall into that category. Typically you cook them up on a skillet, but if you don’t press too hard, a Panini press works just as well. If anything, it makes them nice and compact while still just the right amount of fluffy.
So many homemade pizza recipes require you to cook the crust at the same time you are heating up all the other ingredients, and that is fine if you want soggy pizza crust. In order to get nice crisp crust throughout, it needs to be cooked before hand, but keeping it flat in the baking process is a real task. You know what takes all the challenge out of it? Cooking your dough in the Panini press. (An idea we got from this awesome blog!) Not only do you get nice crisp, flat, awesome-tasting pizza crust, but the ridges hold sauce and ingredients so they don’t go all over the place.