It’s been raining for a week now, and the thought of sloshing over to the market in driving rains (and the occasional hailstorm) hasn’t held much appeal. Even our exuberant puppy doesn’t want to head outside. Can’t we just hunker down and survive off tea and tinned soup?
A quick root around the pantry didn’t yield much in the soup department, but I did find half a loaf of pugliese from the previous night’s dinner, a jar of roasted red peppers and a six-year old cup of instant ramen. (I’ll admit I thought about heating up those noodles for a quick minute. Hungry is hungry.) A log of goat cheese was rescued from the brink of expiration in the fridge, the ramen tossed out, and the ideal rainy-day lunch was on: grilled cheese sandwiches. (I’ve found they taste even better if you yell “grilled cheeeese sand-wich-ehhzzzz!” in a victory holler before eating. It helps.)
Call them panini if you’re feeling Continental, but whatever their name, these crisp sandwiches are the antidote to an empty fridge, lousy weather and a deep-seated laziness about leaving the house. Tawny-brown and crunchy outside, warm and tangy with chèvre and smoky-sweet with bright peppers, they pack considerable flavor for minimal effort, the perfect rainy-day lunch.
Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Panini
- 8 oz jar roasted red peppers, water-packed
- 3 oz herbed goat cheese
- 1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices of crusty country bread (pugliese, levain, etc.)
Drain and pat the peppers dry. Slice the bread and spread two pieces with goat cheese. Top with the goat cheese with the red bell peppers and replace the top to make a sandwich.
Lightly brush olive oil on the exterior sides of the sandwiches. Cook in a heated panini press or grill pan until crisped and browned, or use a large sauté pan warmed over medium-high heat: place the panini in the pan and cover with a length of aluminum foil. Place a heavy pot or pan on top of the foil to press the sandwiches, flipping halfway through. Cook to desired crispness, checking after about three minutes per side. Serve warm with a green salad.