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Bistro Apple Panini

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I recently got a panini grill and have been anxious to try it out. A couple of weeks ago I attempted a Portobello mushroom and tomato combination seasoned with garlic, herbs and balsamic vinaigrette, on ciabatta.

For a first try, I thought it turned out pretty well.

I had to experiment a bit to realize the sandwich has to be placed in the very back of the panini press to get the lid to position correctly and grill it evenly. (Too far forward and the lid rests at an angle on the sandwich.)

Anyway, having figured out the operational technicalities, this weekend I went in a totally different direction with a recipe I found in the latest issue of Taste of Home magazine, Bistro Apple Panini. It featured:

  • Gooey, Havarti cheese melting over crisp, slightly tart apple slices
  • Thick, chewy pieces of bacon
  • Sourdough bread slices slathered with tarragon-infused apple jelly

Wonderful combination of flavors – the licorice-flavored tarragon adds an unexpected twist to the more traditional cheese-apple-bacon trio. And there’s a little Dijon mustard thrown in for good measure.

Bistro Apple Panini
(Adapted from Taste of Home magazine)

12 thick-sliced bacon strips, cut in half
1 medium apple, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger ale

1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup apple jelly
4 teaspoons minced tarragon
12 slices sourdough bread
6 slices Havarti cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Softened butter

Cook bacon in large skillet over low heat, turning frequently until slightly crisp. Drain on paper towels. Toss apple slices with ginger ale and lemon juice in small bowl.

Microwave jelly in small bowl for 20 seconds, or until softened. Stir in tarragon.

Spread jelly mixture over 6 bread slices and top with cheese, apple and bacon (in that order). Spread mustard over remaining bread slices and place over bacon. Spread outsides of sandwiches with butter.

Cook in panini press for 3-4 minutes or until bread is browned and cheese is melted.

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