If you have a panini press, you have yourself a meal. At least that's my impression now that I've spent some time with this new encyclopedic cookbook of panini recipes from Kathy Strahs. From a simple tuna melt for lunch to pear and honey panini for dessert, there are a million ideas here for whatever you have in the fridge and whatever you have a craving for.
• Who wrote it: Kathy Strahs
• Who published it: Harvard Common Press
• Number of recipes: Over 200 (ok, not a million...but it feels like it!)
• Recipes for right now: Turkey, Fig, Gorgonzola, and Arugula Panini; Ham, Brie, and Apple-Butter Mustard Panini; Pepperoni Pizza Panini; Greek Lamb Panini with Feta, Tapenade, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes; Grilled Salmon BLT Panini; Roasted Apples, Brie, and Pecan Panini; Peanut Butter and Caramelized Banana Panini
• Other highlights: This book gives you idea after idea after idea, combining ingredients in new ways that make a simple pressed sandwich feel extra-special, like combining apple butter and mustard on a ham sandwich or giving a grilled cheese sandwich a Green Goddess spin. But even with the pages filled with recipes and tips, this book doesn't feel overwhelming. It feels like the kind of book you take down when your dinner plans fall though and you want something quick, easy, and delicious for dinner.
What took this book from a nice collection of panini recipes to something that made me want to break out the panini press were the number of recipes that actually aren't panini. I had never thought of using a panini press to, say, grill chicken for a salad or caramelize the outsides of peaches. Brilliant. Even better are the recipes that take these grilled components and puts them inside of actual panini — it's like panini world's version of inception.
On a practical level, this book is sturdy and the pages thick enough to handle some cheesy drips. Each chapter focuses on a different main ingredient, from pork and beef to veggies and cheese (my favorite chapter, of course). There is also a chapter of breakfast recipes and one of sweet dessert recipes. The recipes are easy to read and follow along as you cook, and beautiful full-color pictures illustrate the book.
• Who would enjoy this book? Folks who love their panini press as well as folks who forgot they had one in the closet — this book will inspire regular panini makers with new ideas and give the rest a reason to dust off the press.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs
• Visit the author's website: Kathy Strahs
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)