Wednesday, January 7, 2009

White Bean Panini-Style Sandwich

I'm on some kind of vegetarian roll recently.  I was inspired to make this sandwich after a recent visit to Pachamama's in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.  I love the feeling of reading a menu and finding an item that instantly jumps out at you.  On this visit, it was the white bean press: a panini-like sandwich filled with white beans, avocado, red onions, and brie.  The sandwich was delicious: the perfect example of a panini, crispy on the outside, warm and smooth on the inside.

I made a few adjustments to my home version, however.  I simplified the white bean "mash" and added a squirt of lime juice and some tomato slices for acidity.  I used ciabatta bread, which worked well for my solution to not having a panini press in my kitchen.  

This sandwich is delicious, creamy, and comforting.  It's also incredibly fast.  It's a great solution for vegetarians, as the white beans have plenty of good protein in them, and carnivores could very easily slip some prosciutto or grilled chicken in between the slices of bread.  

White Bean Panini-Style Sandwich

Served 1
Leftover Potential: The avocado will begin to oxidize, but a squeeze of lime will keep it fresh.  I kept the components ready in my fridge for a second sandwich the next day.

White Bean "Mash"
1 can white beans
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp dried oregano
juice of 1/2 lime
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1. Drain the white beans.  Using a fork, mash the beans to a chunky mash.  Add the garlic, oregano, and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.

2 slices ciabatta
1 tbsp oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

white bean "mash"

brie, thinly sliced
avocado, thinly sliced
tomato, thinly sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Heat a medium size saute pan over medium-high heat.  
3. Brush the ciabatta slices with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put face down in the saute pan.  Use another pan to press the bread down.  Let cook until well toasted.
4.  Remove the bread from the pan, and place onto a baking sheet.  Spread the white bean mixture on on half of the bread.  Top with tomato and onion slices.
5.  On the other piece of bread, apply the brie and avocado slices.  
6.  Toast the open sandwich in the oven for abut 3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
7.  Press the sandwich together, cut in half, and enjoy warm.

*** The tomatoes and avocado can also be added after the sandwich has been baked in the oven, if you desire to keep them cold.

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