I had some extra cooked extra mashed potatoes leftover from another meal and was trying to use them up. I was also thinking of something creative to make and I started looking around and found a loaf of french bread that I had bought for some soup. Never got to make the soup (most of the times, I have something in mind when I go buy groceries and then I come home and make something totally different with the ingredients I had bought).
So, I decided to make a desi style panini! A lot of people say that panini is just a fancy name for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. I feel it is partly true myself. Usually very thin meat and cheese is put as a sandwich between some crusty Italian bread and the sandwich is then put in a panini maker for the panini. A lot of food network chefs do not use the panini maker and make the paninis in their own innovative ways. Although, I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets, there are a few things that I would never - the panini makers and quesadilla makers top the list :). I know a lot of you may disagree with me ;-).
Here's how you jazz up the coarsly mashed potatoes, desi style!
- 1 cup coarsely mashed potatoes
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 1/4" inch ginger, finely minced
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chat masala (I used MDH)
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- One small saucepan for the potatoes
- Put a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the oil.
- Add the shallots, garlic and ginger, fry until translucent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, cook until they are slightly soft.
- Add the mashed potatoes, the coriander powder, chat masala, salt. Stir until everything is blended and mixed together and heated through. Turn off the heat.
- Add the cilantro and the mint. Mix.
Preparing the paninis
- 5-6 baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup of shredded cheese or small chese slices (I used what I had on hand - a mix of montery jack and pepper jack)
- One large skillet/grill pan
- One small skillet
- One heavy object (read the method below)
- Cut the french bread into about about 1/2" thick slices. The french bread I used was not crusty so I toasted it on both sides on a grill pan so it became a little crunchy and lost the "softness".
- Build a sandwich - take one french bread slice put some cheese, a couple of baby spinach leaves, some of the potato mixture and cheese in that order. Top the slice with another french bread slice.
- Now carefully put that sandwich on a greased skillet/grill pan (I used a grill pan), put a smaller skillet over on top of the sandwich, and put a heavy object on the smaller skillet so it weighs the sandwich down completely - recommendations are foil covered brick, a huge flour/sugar sack, some canned food etc. I used a big flour container I had.
- Cook for about 1-2 minutes then turn the sandwich on its other side and repeat!
After I typed the entire entry, I thought this would make a good entry to V.K.N's cooking competetion. But I haven't decided yet if I am going to submit this or not. It all depends on whatelse I am going to cook up with over the weekend!