Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spinach Panini

Spinach and Red Pepper Panini

As if spinach weren’t enough, the roasted red peppers in these delicious panini add another set of nutrients: the carotenoids found in red vegetables and fruits, as well as vitamins C, A and B6. Use a whole grain bread.

Serves four (use one bag of spinach for 2 sandwiches)

12 ounces (2 bags) baby spinach

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt, preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper

1 large or 2 smaller roasted sweet red peppers, sliced

1/4 pound mozzarella, grated

8 slices whole grain country bread

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Add the spinach to the boiling water and blanch for 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer to the ice water to cool for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in the spinach. Toss together to coat with oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

3. Preheat a panini grill. Top four of the bread slices with the spinach, and top the spinach with strips of roasted pepper, then with cheese. Top with the remaining bread, and press together. Brush the outside of the bread (top and bottom slices) with olive oil. Place in the panini maker and grill for five minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasty. Slice in half, and serve hot.

Advance preparation: You can prepare the spinach through step 2 several hours or even a day ahead of assembling the panini.

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