Sunday, March 5, 2017


Make the spread in the morning and put together the panini in the afternoon, for lunch, or evening, for dinner. I served the panini with a warm bowl of Tuscan Bean Soup. 
The panini are my take on two famous panini made at All' Antico Vinaio in Florence, Italy. One is called La Dante and the other is L'Inferno.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
One sandwich is - un panino
Two sandwiches are - due panini
Vinaio in Italian translates to vintner or wine merchant

Spicy Eggplant & Zucchini Spread
1 T avocado oil
8 cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and diced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking)
½ small jar sundried tomatoes, in oil, diced
½ jar artichoke hearts, drained and diced
2 T minced Italian parsley
1 T minced basil or basil paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the mushrooms and cook until golden and crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
Add the eggplant and cook until golden and crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to bowl with mushrooms.
Add the zucchini and cook until golden and crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute more.
Return the mushrooms and eggplant to the skillet with the zucchini and garlic.
Cook another minute then turn off heat and add the sundried tomatoes, artichokes, parsley, and basil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Spoon into a bowl and serve over bruschetta, crostini, or a spread for panini.

Ciabatta bread, brushed with a little extra-virgin olive oil and warmed in oven
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Spicy Eggplant & Zucchini Spread
Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Cut bread in half and add a couple of slices of mozzarella on one side.
Place in oven under the broiler for a minute, just to melt the cheese; do not burn.
Spread the other side with the Spicy Eggplant & Zucchini Spread.
On top of the eggplant side, add some slices of prosciutto, top with arugula and drizzle with olive oil
Place the mozzarella side on top and serve.

Buon appetito!

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