Hot, melty, crunchy! Those three words describe the essence of a delicious Panini.
A Panini is not your average sandwich of meat and cheese stuck between two slices of ordinary bread. In order to be called a Panini—or Panino in Italian—this sandwich starts with a crusty loaf of bread, usually ciabatta, rosetta or a baguette. Traditionally, the bread is cut down the middle and not into thin slices. This gives you a mouthful of crust with each bite.
Next, the bread is filled with cold cuts, cheese, fresh herbs, tomatoes or anything else you like to eat. Then the whole thing is warmed in a specially designed panini press that compresses it, which helps the cheese to melt and toasts the outside of the bread. That’s what gives you a sandwich that is hot, melty, and crunchy.
The Panini Particulars
While Paninis have been a longtime Italian mainstay, in the United States, they remained a delicatessen menu item until small appliance manufacturers decided to create a smaller version of the commercial press so people can make the sandwiches recipes in their own kitchens.
If you’ve become a fan of the Panini and have decided to conduct your own Panini press reviews, here’s a list of what each product should include:
- Floating hinges that compensate for thicker sandwiches
- Nonstick surfaces
- Indicator light that signals when the press is hot
- Variable heat controls
Also, consider the press’s size. How many Panini sandwiches can it cook at a time? What thickness can it accommodate? How much space will it take up in terms of storage and/or counter.
Of course, you also need to think about how much you want to spend when doing your Panini press reviews. Here are three presses that fall into different price ranges:
With an adjustable thermostat that reaches up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit, this press can handle just about any sandwich combination you can come up with. A nearly 10-x-10-inch grill area should hold at least two sandwiches. A drip tray catches stray juices and allows for quick cleaning.
This stainless steel press doubles as an indoor grill with 11-x-9-inch nonstick plates. The adjustable temperature control lets you choose how toasty you want the Panini to be or how hot to make the grill when cooking anything from fish to vegetables. When you’re done, remove the grill plates to wash. Tight on storage space? No problem. Just turn the grill on its side and slide into a snug spot for vertical storage.
While this model may be more petite than others, it can handle the biggest of sandwiches. The floating lid easily adjusts to varying thicknesses. Wide nonstick plates can hold several small Paninis or a couple large ones. The versatility lets you decide on how much (or how little) to press at once.