Tre Panini


Makes 6-7 servings as an entrée, about 20 as an appetizer

Tre Panini
  • 1 large (15oz) loaf Italian bread, unsliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • your choice of fillings below (see notes)

Special equipment

electric grill press or an iron grill pan and another slightly smaller frying pan as the press
baking pan for the staging
pastry brush
warmed serving platter


Slice the bread at an angle so that each slice is about 6" long and about ¾" thick. Discard the ends. This should yield 12 to 14 sandwich-sized slices. Place the slices in stacks of 2 on your staging pan, slather olive oil generously on top of each set, and flip each set over so it sits oil-side down. Remove the tops in order (so that you can reassemble each pair with its proper top), and begin assembly according to which variation you’ve chosen. Remember, the ingredients are listed in assembly order, but will be in reverse order as you look at each panino; that is, the first ingredient will be on the bottom, the second will be one removed from the bottom, and the last ingredient will be just under the top slice of bread. Slather olive oil on the top of each capping slice.

Heat your ungreased grill pan on medium high. Place the first two sandwiches at a bias to the ridges of the grill. You don’t want them parallel to the ridges, nor exactly perpendicular to the ridges, and when you flip them over, you want the angle to be different from the first side so that you don’t pinch the sandwiches at the same place on both sides. After one or two removes, your pan will be quite hot so reduce the heat to medium.

Press down forcefully yet evenly with the bottom side of your other frying pan. If your pressure isn’t even, your sandwiches will slide apart; The second frying pan will serve as both a press and a lid to retain heat. After about 3 minutes, flip the sandwiches over, and press again. Cook for 3 minutes on this side too. If you hear the cheese oozed from the inside sizzling, it might be time to remove.

Remove, slice in half, and set on warmed serving tray while you tackle the next pair.

Repeat until you’ve grilled all your sandwiches.


We offer three varieties that work well, but feel free to mix and match. The quantities are enough for 6-7 panini

  • sparse squeeze balsamic glaze for each sandwich
  • fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • ½ lb sharp Provolone (1 slice folded over for each sandwich)
  • ½ lb sliced smoked turkey breast luncheon meat (1 slice each; if too large, trim excess, do not fold)
  • thin tomato slices
  • ½ lb cooked salami (1 slice folded over for each sandwich)
  • about 1 oz crumbled feta (scant teaspoon each sandwich)
  • sparse squeeze aïoli (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons peach jelly (very sparsely spread on each bottom slice; less than 1 teaspoon each slice)
  • very thin slices of red onion
  • thin tomato slices
  • ½ lb slice muenster (1 slice for each sandwich)
  • 6-7 strips bacon, fried until crispy (1 slice for each sandwich, see note)
  • ½ lb sliced smoked turkey breast luncheon meat (1 slice each; if too large, trim excess, do not fold)
  • arugula
  • 2 Tablespoons mild guacamole (very sparsely spread on each top slice; less than 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 Tablespoons aïoli
  • fresh dill
  • cucumber slices
  • fontina
  • roasted red pepper
  • two scallions, chopped
  • 4 oz portabello mushroom caps, sliced about ¼ inch thick and soaked in 2 Tablespoons Tamari
  • thin slices of tomato
  • clover or alfalfa sprouts
  • 2 Tablespoons mild guacamole (very sparsely spread on each top slice; less than 1 teaspoon but see note)

Rather than make aïoli from scratch, you can cheat by spicing up a ¼ cup of regular mayonaisse with ⅓ clove of garlic very finely chopped and some parsley. Let the flavours marinate for a day if you can.

You want to fry the bacon until it’s very crisp because you want it to crunch apart when your patrons bite into the sandwich. You don’t want them to pull out the whole strip of bacon when biting into the panino.

Ideally, you’d use a thin slice of fresh avocado, but it’s so much easier to use prepared guacamole.


With all these salty luncheon meats and cheeses, this dish demands a tall beer.