Fontina Cheese and Prosciutto Panini with Fresh Basil

Fontina Cheese and Prosciutto Panini with Fresh Basil


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Wolfgang Puck Grilled cheese sandwiches aren't just a convenient weekend lunch for kids anymore. Now that Italian trattorias have popularized them as panini ("little breads"), and French bistros as croques ("crunches"), they're gourmet fare, just the thing for a light, yet satisfying, meal or casual hors-d'oeuvres. For an informal party, put out platters of breads, cheeses, and other fillings, along with butter and olive oil, and let your guests get creative. Then enjoy the spectacle of a roomful of grown-ups rediscovering the pleasures of childhood.

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Serving Size / Yield

4 servings


  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 4 slices sourdough or whole wheat bread, each about 1/3 inch thick
  • 2 thin slices prosciutto or Black Forest ham
  • 6 oz. thinly sliced Fontina, Swiss, or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 firm but ripe Roma tomato, trimmed and cut crosswise into 8 slices
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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In a small bowl, stir together the mustard and mayonnaise. With a basting brush or the back of a tsp. or Tbs., spread the mixture evenly over one side of each slice of bread. On a large, clean plate or platter, turn the bread slices plain sides up. Evenly distribute half of the cheese over 2 of the bread slices. Place 2 basil leaves on top of the cheese on each of the 2 slices. Neatly drape a slice of prosciutto on top of the basil leaves. Arrange 4 tomato slices on top of each slice of prosciutto. Generously season the tomatoes with freshly ground black pepper and then cover them evenly with the remaining cheese. Cover each sandwich neatly with another slice of bread, placing the slice with its mustard-mayonnaise side facing outward. Preheat an electric panini maker or a hinged countertop grill, following the manufacturer's instructions, or heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Depending on your appliance or cookware's size, carefully place one or both sandwiches into the panini maker, grill, or skillet, or on the griddle, and cook until the bread is deep golden brown and crisp on both sides and the cheese is melted. If using the skillet or griddle, press down occasionally with the back of a metal spatula to help seal the sandwiches. Cooking time should be about 4 minutes total in the panini maker or hinged grill; or 4 minutes per side with the skillet or griddle. With a sharp knife, cut each sandwich diagonally in half if serving as a main dish; or cut it in quarters or eighths if serving as an hors-d'oeuvre. Makes 2 sandwiches.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network.)



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