A Weeknight Panini Potluck

The Apartment Therapy Los Angeles team was coming over. It was a hot summer weeknight, and we were all heading down the street to see a friend's band play that evening. A formal dinner was out of the question and, with two of us recently laid off, we're budget-conscious about restaurant dining. Thus, the panini potluck was born.
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We asked everyone to bring sandwich components – bread, cheese, meat, fruit – and we set up our electric grill in the living room. We also put out condiments like mustards and chutneys, and butter to slather on the bread before grilling.
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We took turns assembling and sharing our creations, oohing and ahhing over the combinations each person came up with. Among the highlights were brie + prosciutto, brie + raspberries + grapes, and blue cheese + pear. It was casual, communal, and delicious.
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For dessert, there were pressed Nutella sandwiches and grilled plums. We also sipped on chilled white wine and tarragon iced tea before heading off to the gig.

Everything was such a breeze, from set-up to clean-up, that we'll definitely be holding more weeknight panini potlucks. On weekends, we might get a little fancier and prepare pre-grilled vegetables, caramelized onions, and homemade condiments for people to add to their sandwiches. Here are a few panini ideas in The Kitchn's archives, too:

Blogging Oprah: Giada's Chocolate and Brie Panini
Flickr Find: Prosciutto, Arugula, and Mozzarella Panini on No-Knead Olive Bread
Good Eats: Ham, Brie, and Apple French Toast Panini

Having a panini press or electric grill makes this especially easy, but it's also possible to make pressed sandwiches without one:

How to Make Restaurant Style Panini Sandwiches Without a Panini Grill, from Associated Content
How to Make Panini Without a Panini Press, from Panini Happy

Do you have any favorite pressed sandwich recipes or tips?

Related: Good Question: Best Potluck Recipes?

(Images: Gregory Han)

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