“Mmm, Mozzarella, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Panini … doesn’t that sound good?”
[insert dead silence]
“Doesn’t it? No?”
“Um, no,” came the answer.
There are a lot of odd flavor combinations that you would never think to put together but strangely work into something wonderfully delicious. Strawberries Pazzo is one that comes to mind. Strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar? When I first heard of the combination, I just may have wrinkled my nose a bit. It sounds so … weird. But in a strange and magical way, it just works. So much so that it’s one of my favorite ways to eat strawberries, and it’s back on the menu tomorrow night for a little cocktail party.
A recent episode of Giada at Home introduced another strange flavor combination that I wouldn’t have thought of … Mozzarella, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Paninis. I quickly scribbled down the ingredients and dug out the panini maker. With raspberry preserves already on hand, and fresh mozzarella from a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I only needed the bread.
Like most paninis, it is a no-brainer to assemble the sandwiches. Within just a few minutes, your tastebuds are rewarded in the very best possible way. A nice crunch from the brown sugar crust that forms on the bread, the smooth creaminess of the mozzarella, the sweetness of the raspberry preserves and then the added ting from the rosemary. While she was making the paninis, Giada mentioned that this was the type of snack she would eat as a kid after school. Whether it’s an after-school snack, an appetizer for a get-together or just because, these are so good and worth dusting off your own panini maker. Even more perfect as the weather starts to get warm, this is a great way to keep your kitchen cool.
Mozzarella, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Panini
Recipe courtesy of Giada at Home
- 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices bakery-style white bread
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 8 ounces (2 balls) fresh mozzarella, drained and patted dry
- Kosher salt, optional
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Special equipment: a panini press
Preheat the panini press.
Using a pastry brush, brush the bread on both sides with the oil. Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with the raspberry jam. Sprinkle the rosemary over the jam. Cut the mozzarella into 8 slices. Place 2 slices of cheese on 4 of the bread slices. Season the cheese with a pinch of salt, if using. Place the remaining slices of bread on top, jam-side down. Sprinkle the tops with the brown sugar. Press in the panini press for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden and crispy.
Cut the panini in half and serve.