Now Eat This!

A new recipe I whipped up, making its debut at the BCS National Championship viewing party I had. Nevermind that the guest list consisted of simply my mom & dad; I’d like to think the recipe was a hit with both of my guests.
Ham & Gruyere Cheese Paninis with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Ailoi

And since they are super easy to make, I’m sharing the recipe in case anyone needs a quick weeknight meal.

Ingredients:
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Ailoi

  • 1/3 cup of jarred roasted bell peppers (I like to use Mezzetta)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of mayo
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper

Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • sliced sourdough bread
  • 1 cup of grated gruyere cheese
  • 12 slices of ham*

*I bought a 2 lb boneless ham half; the remainder is good for lunches later on in the week, but this recipe is perfect for leftover ham from dinner too.

Preheat the panini press to med-high.

To make the aioli, dry the bell peppers with a paper towel. The drier, the better, as the liquid from the jarred bell peppers will make the consistency of the aioli runnier. Combine the bell peppers, garlic, mayo and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the salt and pepper (plus or minus some, to your own taste).

Meanwhile, soften the butter in a small bowl and blend in Parmesan cheese. I used a basting brush to spread the butter and cheese mixture onto the outsides of the sourdough slices. Place 6 of the slices, butter/cheese side down, on the panini press.

Add the shredded gruyere, followed by the ham slices. Take the remaining 6 sourdough slices and spread the aioli on the inside of the bread and place on top of the ham, aioli-side down. Top the other side of the bread with the butter and parm mixture and grill until the bread is a golden brown color. I flipped it after about 2 minutes because I feel like the bottom plate of my panini press runs hotter than the top, but either way, it came out delicious!

I served with sweet potato fries (from my grocer’s freezer section…I couldn’t be trapped in the kitchen the WHOLE game!) with Emeril’s Dipping Sauce (a sour cream/lime-juice/cumin concoction that was quite lovely–if I do say so myself!)

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