Jan 28, 2015

Panini with Ham and Dill Havarti Cheese

On the occasional opportunity that I go out to eat, I enjoy trying new things and getting fresh ideas.  Isn't it true, even with a simple meal, that it always tastes better from a restaurant or when someone else prepares it for you.  It’s like they have a secret ingredient or a special way of preparing it, so there’s no way to duplicate it yourself!!  Well, I’m going to give it a try…I’m calling this foodie piece “Ditto That Dish!”

Recently, I was inspired by this very tasty Panini, pictured below, from Mendoberri CafĂ© and Wine Bar. It was made with Ham, Dill Havarti Cheese and Dill Pickles on Ciabatta Bread.  The dill Havarti cheese and the Ciabatta bread is what won me over with this pretty simple sammie.  I figured, I’d pick up these ingredients and "ditto that dish."

Let me tell you, the restaurant’s Panini was crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.  Just what you want in a Panini. It had a wonderful dill flavor from the cheese and, no doubt, quality ingredients were used.

Following, is my "ditto" Panini.  Mine will be a leaner version and the ingredients include: Lean Ham, Trader Joe's Panini Slims, Dill Havarti Cheese, Spicy Brown Mustard and Pickled Pepperoncini's.

Disclaimer:  I’m not a professional chef and, for that matter, not a professional cook of any kind.  I don’t secretly know the restaurant chef - didn't sleep with him or her!  I didn't break-in the kitchen and snatch their recipe.  I don't have any knowledge of the ingredients they used, except the obvious.  My duplication process is based on just using those obvious ingredients and figuring out the others purely on my personal tastebuds and making my own product choices.

Instead of using a whole Panini Slim, I cut mine in half to keep it at 90 calories. Put a thin slice of the Havarti cheese on one half of the bread, layer 2 slices of ham on top of first layer of cheese. On top of the ham, place second layer of cheese. That's what makes the gooiness!  Scatter on pepperoncini slices or dill pickles, then slather mustard onto the other half of bread (mustard is optional).

Now, here's the best part and a little trick if you don't have a Panini grill or press - just make your own!  I used my grill pan, but you can use a regular frying pan, as well. 

Heat up your pan on medium high heat and prepare the pan with a little cooking spray and set your constructed sandwich in the pan. To create that "pressed" crunchy, gooey sandwich, just place a small plate on top of the sandwich. Then grab, straight from your pantry, a large heavy jar or can and place on top of the plate. Voila, instant Panini grill!

Flip and grill the other side until browned and crispy.  Plate along with a side salad and "Ditto That Dish" is busted!  

I made a leaner Panini, but honestly, it was nearly as good as the restaurant version.  Of course, simple as it is, it's still fun going out with friends and enjoying the pleasure of having your meal prepared for you! 

-Ditto That Dish Completed-

Feel free to share a square!


  1. I like this idea!...Ditto that Dish, what a great name for a feature or recurring feature. I think I will now try to actually make a panini. I don't have a panini maker but my textured Calphalon skillet and a large lid from another pot to press it into shape should work!

  2. Thanks Anna - I'm going to try to do more Ditto that Dish features! Using a large lid for you press is a good idea too! Good luck and enjoy your panini!

  3. I like this idea for a post! And while I don't eat meat, this still looks yummy! I want to get a panini maker!

  4. I just made a veggie panini today with pizza sauce - it was good and no meat! Try making it without a panini maker. Glad you like the idea!


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