Monday, October 24, 2011
Party bites: Gouda and apple panini
I love entertaining and luckily Paul has the same excitement as I do for sprucing up our place, laying out a spread of delicious food, and crafting the perfect party mix. Since I tend to obsess a little too much over making all of the food, decorating, and displaying everything perfectly, I've learned to take a few shortcuts that still result in tasty and convenient bites. My favorite new go-to are mini panini with simple contrasting flavors, like a strong Gouda cheese and tart honeycrisp apples. Paired with thinly sliced baguette, each component of the tiny sandwiches can be prepared ahead of time and assembled quickly before the guests arrive. Serve stacked high on a wooden tray for a rustic touch and the result is a warm cheesy treat with an unexpected crisp, that looks every bit gourmet.
Mini Gouda and honeycrisp panini
1 fresh baguette
1 block strong Gouda (I like goat's milk Gouda)
1 large honeycrisp apple or other hard tart variety
juice of 1/2 lemon
Ahead of time:
- Slice baguette into thin slices. Don't slice diagonally, you want two-bite sized sandwiches.
- Slice cheese into 1" x 2" rectangles
- Slice apple by cutting around core to make 4 large pieces, then cut those into small slices. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
20 min before guests arrive:
- Heat up panini press (a skillet can provide the same look if you push down lightly with a spatula to melt and compress everything together)
- Assemble sandwiches by placing one slice cheese and one slice apple between two pieces of bread. Arrange each in a row on the press.
- While sandwiches are grilling, assemble the remaining ingredients so they will be ready to press when the others are finished.
- Arrange sandwiches in a stack on a long serving board (I like thin cheese boards).