I hear people at work talking about their panini makers, and someone posted here about one so I thought I'd ask -
Are paninni makers just the newest take on the old fashioned sandwich makers?
Back in the olden days in college I had what we called the "close and play" grilled cheese maker - it had triangular 'holes' top and bottom and you could put bread and cheese in and close the top... It was a bitch to clean since it was non-immersible...
Then since the 90's George Foreman has made more money selling his grill than he ever did boxing...
Trendy coffee shops all over are advertising Panini sandwiches, and everyone from Wolfgang puck to Hamilton beach to Emeril legassi are out hawking their machines.
So, is this just the newest turn on an age old idea - an idea in fact, that really isnt all that great?
I think the Panini is considered an (for lack of better term) an upper class type sandwich, when compared to the old grilled cheese you can make with the older style sandwich makers. They tend to use more premium ingredients, and I also noticed that they favor flat breads more.
On a side note, the other day I was taking a look at my waffle maker, old sandwich maker, and my Foreman grill and realized they all are the basically the same thing, just with different plates on them. Granted, unlike the sandwich maker and waffle iron, the nice thing about my Foreman is the plates come off, so I can wash them in the dishwasher.
While watching 'Daisy Cooks' on PBS I learned that taking an Italian size loaf with all the mixing on there, close it up, press it down really hard and wrap it tight with foil and stick in the oven. You can even put a cast iron skillet down on it to help keep it flat. Just try it, my kids love it. A slight difference than having just a sub sandwich at home.
Panini is another word for toasted sandwich. They're good but I wouldn't buy a special pan for them.
Never tried it, but I would think that any panini could be made on a George Foreman Grill. The panini maker I used when I worked in food retail long ago was essentially the same as the GF Grill, except the grooves were deeper on the grilling surface.
Panera Bread makes fantastic Panini's. I almost asked for a Panini maker for xmas, but realized, it'd be just one more thing to store & a pain to have to drag it out when you want to use it (if you ever use it, because once it's stored, 'out of sight,out of mind', and you forget to even use it.) I imagine a GF grill would do the same thing, and possibly even a waffle maker. A side note - I have a deep fryer that says 'non submercible' & I submerge it all the time without problems.
I love my pannini maker. I got one for my birthday, but i didn't have the old fashoned sandwich makers. But its cool, if you already have one then its up to you if you wanna get something new, but i love how it works. 8-)