I was stacking meat, cheese, and veggies between 2 slices of bread and cooking them in a butter coated skillet long before I heard the name panini. Whatever you call it, this sandwich delivers on sweet, smokey, succulent, and spicy between a crunchy salty Portuguese roll.
Thanks to frozen sweet cherries that are delicious, you can Create More of this sandwich all year long, not just during the summer!
I first ate smoked turkey over the holidays a few years ago. Then I discovered horseradish cheddar, which is a fantastic pairing with the smokiness and fruit. The ruby colored ripe cherries gently pop on your palate with sweet and tangy flavor.
And then the mayo is creamy and fruity from the wine and rosemary's piney scent is fantastic with a sweet sauce.
Try a bourbon barrel red blend or cabernet that has smokey warm tones from the barrel, jammy fruit, cherry, and violet notes. You could also go with an Oregon or Washington state pinot noir for something lighter with a high concentration of tart cherry and earthiness.
Horseradish cheddar creates an interesting kind of heat at the back of the palate and through the nose as opposed to the tip and middle of the tongue. While my first bite proved that I was right on with this combination, I had miscalculated on just how slippery the cherry halves would be when pressed against the turkey and cheese and squeezed between the bread. A few went overboard into the butter pool, which I quickly rescued and placed back inside when the sandwich finished cooking.
The fix for this is simply to carve out tiny wells in the top or bottom of the bread. Then secure the cherry cheeks flush with the bread. Problem solved!
I had stocked up on cherries when they were on sale so I had plenty to play with. But this gourmet sandwich is worth going to the store today and purchasing some fresh or frozen sweet cherries so you can reward yourself with a panini for your lunch break :)
Smoked Turkey, Horseradish Cheddar And Cherry Panini With Red Wine Rosemary Mayonnaise
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Ingredients For Sandwich
-1 tablespoon butter
-1 Portuguese roll
-6 to 8 cherries, cheeks cut off (or frozen cherries, sliced in half, no need to thaw)
-1 slice horseradish cheese
-2 slices smoked turkey
-fresh basil leaves, enough to cover cheese ( I used cinnamon basil but sweet would also work)
Ingredients For Red Wine Rosemary Mayonnaise
-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
-1/2 tablespoon dry red wine (bourbon barrel red blend or a Pinot Noir)
-1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Directions For Sandwich
1. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. I like iron frying pans because the bread gets crunchier.
2. To keep the cherries from slipping out of the edges of the sandwich when you're pressing on the panini dig out little holes from the top of the bread and place a cherry cheek in each one.
3. Layer on the cheese against the bread and then the turkey and basil leaves.
4. Place the sandwich in the pan and press down as it cooks to seal everything together. When it browns on the first side, after about 10 minutes, flip it over and brown the other and cook until the cheese melts, another 5 to 10 minutes.
5. While the sandwich is cooking whisk together the mayo and wine.
6. Then stir in the rosemary.
7. Spoon into a small bowl.
8. Slice the sandwich in half and serve with the mayo as a dipping sauce.