Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Italian Grilled Cheese Panino

Forget American cheese melted between two slices of white bread. My mother makes the best grilled cheese sandwich.

First, she grills the slices of Italian bread in olive oil right on the stovetop in a cast iron pan. Once the bread is toasted on one side, she turns one slice over, piles on the toppings (mozzarella, prosciutto, and anything else she has on hand, like tomatoes, lettuce and salami), covers it with the other half and grills the whole panino. She usually turns it over at least once. With a fork and spatula, you can (mostly) keep the insides from falling out. The cheese melts into the bread, the crust is crunchy from the olive oil and the salty meats nicely compliment the fresh mozzarella. It is delicious!

My mom recently revealed to me that when I was growing up, she would use butter instead of olive oil. With that in mind, this is a low-fat version, right? If you are looking to make this dish healthy, I wouldn’t recommend low-fat mozzarella since it won’t melt quite right. In fact, I’m not sure that there should be a (really) low-fat version. I would even recommend adding just a pinch of salt to the olive oil to help bring out the flavor in the bread.

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