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Cooking With Fresh Herbs: Caprese Panini with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Tomato

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Caprese Panini with Fresh Mozzarella from How Does Your Garden Grow? ~ www.thefarmgirlgabs.com

We grow a ton of different varieties of potted herbs in our greenhouses at Russo’s. Planting my herb garden is one of the first things I do in the spring because I not only love to cook, but I love to cook with fresh herbs. The depth of flavor they add to foods is amazing. Basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chives, sage, mint and dill are my favorites to plant in my herb garden. Some varieties will even come back year after year, like rosemary, chives, mint, sage, lavender and oregano. Herbs are very easy to grow and maintain. Even if you don’t have a space for them in your yard, they can easily be grown in pots or containers on your deck or windowsill.

Herbs Grown in the Greenhouses at Russo’s Fruit & Vegetable Farm

herb pots   basilpots

I thought I would share my Caprese Panini with you since it is one of my husband Anthony’s favorite sandwiches (and mine too). It incorporates his two favorite things…..tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes from our farm put this dish over the top, but since they are not in season yet, any ripe tomato will do) and fresh basil. Hope you try it out and enjoy its yummy deliciousness.

Caprese Panini with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil & Tomato
(serves 1)
1 Ciabatta Roll or 2 slices of good rustic bread
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Garlic Clove
1 Large Ripe Tomato, Sliced
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
3-4 Slices of Fresh Mozzarella
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper – to taste

1. In a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer until vinegar reduces by half and becomes thick like syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Slice ciabatta roll in half and brush one side with olive oil. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on the other side.
ciabatta

3.  Layer tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
assembled sandwich

4. Assemble panini and brush outside of bread with olive oil. Place on panini press and cook until cheese melts. *If you do not have a panini press, you can use a large grill pan or skillet. After you place panini in grill pan, top with another skillet and press down.

5. When sandwich is finished cooking, remove from press and rub each side with a clove of garlic.
caprese panini

Enjoy!

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