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Crispy Prosciutto Caprese Panini with Shoestring Fries

Made with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil oil and vine-ripened tomatoes, this panini is a fun play on the Italian caprese salad. The addition of crispy prosciutto takes the toasty sandwich to a delicious new level.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz. fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 8 slices sweet batard, cut on the bias 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 8 slices, each 1/2 inch thick
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Shoestring fries for serving (see related recipe at left)

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, combine the basil and the 1/2 cup olive oil and blend until almost smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; set aside.

Brush one side of each bread slice with plain olive oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a work surface and brush the top of each slice with some of the basil oil. Layer the cheese evenly on 4 of the bread slices.

Preheat an electric panini press on the “sear” setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Working in batches, place the prosciutto on the preheated panini press, close the lid and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate. Place 2 prosciutto slices on each cheese-topped bread slice, then top each with 2 tomato slices. Season the tomatoes lightly with pepper. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices, plain olive oil side up.

Adjust the panini press to the “panini” setting. Place 2 sandwiches on the panini press, close the lid and cook until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Repeat to cook the remaining sandwiches. Gently open the sandwiches and drizzle each with 1 tsp. of the basil oil. Serve immediately with shoestring fries. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.