Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roast Turkey Panini with Aioli, Portabella, Arugula and Provolone

A nice panini sandwich with popular Italian flavors!

     Panini sandwiches started in Milan Italy.  Panini were snack sandwiches that were served in Milanese bars.  Panini became popular in America about 25 years ago.
     Panini are not mile high style sandwiches.  A small 4 ounce portion of ingredients are usually placed on the bread for American panini.  Traditional Italian panini require only just a very tiny portion of ingredients to flavor the bread.  In Italy just adding flavor to an Italian bread that is already great tasting is enough to satisfy!
     Panini are made with Italian ciabatta bread.  Ciabatta is similar to focaccia.  Ciabatta has plenty of yeast air bubbles for texture, but the bread has no sourdough flavor.  
     For a home kitchen baker that only bakes bread once in a blue moon, the better choice is to purchase a loaf of good ciabatta at a local Italian bakery.  It does take practice to make good ciabatta and focaccia style breads.  By all means, if you have a good recipe for ciabatta, then make your own!  There just happens to a good Italian deli nearby that has Italian artisan breads, and that is very convenient for me.
    Turkey has become a very popular meat in Italy.  Turkey used to be reserved for the Easter holidays by many people in Italy a long time ago.  Now that health conscious food has taken a front row seat, turkey has become a choice for daily meals.  Occasionally, I do post a nice Italian style turkey recipe and the last few were turkey sausage entree recipes.
     Provolone cheese is a classic for Italian sandwiches!  Portabella mushrooms add a rich flavor to this panini.  The arugula adds a peppery springtime flavor.  Aioli is a classic tasting sandwich spread that is much healthier than mayonnaise.  Today's roast turkey panini sandwich is a nice light sandwich for spring and summer!

     Aioli Recipe:
     I posted a picture of what a freshly made aioli should look like.  Just like when making mayonnaise, only add a few drops of olive oil at a time, while constantly whisking, till the sauce starts to bind and emulsify, before drizzling a very thin stream of olive oil while whisking!  Otherwise, the aioli will remain thin and it will easily break.  
     Very finely mince or puree 8 cloves of garlic.
     Place the garlic puree into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 egg yolk.
     Add 1 drop of good quality virgin olive oil at a time, while constantly whisking, till the sauce starts to bind and emulsify. 
     Add a very thin stream of the virgin olive oil, while briskly whisking, till the aioli becomes a translucent while color and the texture becomes stiff, yet with a light gravity that is not airy.  The aioli should be lighter in texture than a mayonnaise and it should be able to stand tall in a spoon!
     Note:  A plain simple aioli is perfect the way that it is!  A small pinch of sea salt is optional.  A few drops of lemon juice is also optional, but not necessary.  Pepper is not an option.  Never add pepper to an aioli!
     The aioli can be kept refrigerated for 7 days.

     Roast Turkey Panini with Aioli, Portabella, Arugula and Provolone:
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 small splash of olive oil.
     Add 4 thin sliced small portabella mushrooms.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Saute till the mushrooms become fully cooked.
     Set the sauteed portabella slices aside.
     Cut a 6" to 8" long piece of ciabatta bread.
     Split the bread in half horizontally.
     Spread some aioli on both halves of the bread.
     Place a thin layer of arugula leaves on the bottom half of the bread.
     Place 3 to 4 ounces of very thin sliced roasted turkey on the arugula.  (Thin sliced roasted turkey from a delicatessen is fine for this sandwich!)
     Place the sauteed portabella mushroom slices on the turkey.
     Place a few thin slices of provolone cheese on the mushrooms.
     Place the top half of the ciabatta bread on the sandwich. 
     Set the sandwich on a panini grill that is set to medium heat and gently press the sandwich with the top half of the panini grill.  (Do not Godzilla flatten the panini like a Cuban sandwich!  Just gently press the panini.)  
     Note:  There is really no substitute for a panini grill.  The panini sandwich can be cooked and pressed on a standard grill.  The sandwich will need to be flipped to grill the top side and the sandwich will need to be pressed twice.)
     Grill the panini, till the top and bottom of the sandwich are toasted till the sandwich becomes warm.
     Place the panini on a cutting board and cut the sandwich in half into triangle shapes.
     Set the panini halves on a plate.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig and a piece of fresh fruit. 

     It is no use describing what this Roast Turkey Panini with Aioli, Portabella, Arugula and Provolone tastes like, because you probably already know.  This panini tastes like springtime!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna      


  1. nice idea.. thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks! Next time I do panini, I'll do some traditional Italian style ones. I still have one more turkey panini recipe to write.