Panini presses are nice because they can transform pretty ho-hum ingredients into something that seems much fancier than it originally warranted. If you have a few leftover slices of tomato and a nub of good melting cheese, you've got a crispy delightful sandwich in minutes. That being said, you don't need any appliances to make this sandwich — or any pressed sandwich, for that matter. You can easily cook them on the stovetop in a skillet (see separate directions below) just like you would a normal grilled cheese.
I thought of the ingredients for this particular sandwich after I took a marmalade class about a month ago and realized I had more marmalade than we could reasonably eat on breakfast toast or scones. We started spreading it on crackers and even swirling it into yogurt, but I began to think that it'd be wonderful on a sandwich with a nice, creamy cheese. And good bread and ham. And, of course, that leftover arugula that was just begging to be used. The result was a sandwich we'll make again. Often. I think you're going to like it, too.
Ham, Brie, Marmalade and Arugula Pressed Sandwich
4 slices rustic country bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or more, if you prefer)
4 ounces brie, cut into ¼-inch slices (about 6 slices)
8 ounces sliced cooked ham (about 8 slices)
2 tablespoons marmalade
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup arugula
Spread two slices of bread with 1 teaspoon mustard each. Layer each piece of bread with 3 slices of Brie, 4 slices ham, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Spread the each of the remaining slices of bread with 1 tablespoon of marmalade and place each slice marmalade-side-down on top of the sandwich.
Brush both sides of each sandwich with olive oil. Set the sandwiches in a panini grill set on High and cook until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes (depending on your machine). When finished cooking, remove the tops of each sandwich and lay on 1/4 cup arugula on top. Smush bread back down on top of arugula, cut in half, and serve warm.
Stovetop Sandwiches: Using a cast-iron pan or your favorite heavy-duty skillet, cook sandwich 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
(Images: Megan Gordon)