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There’s nothing better in the summer than to come home from work and make a great sandwich with some sort of fresh vegetable as a side.
A favorite sandwich is Italian grilled cheese. That might not be the name for it, but for lack of anything else to call the sandwich, we’ll go with Italian grilled cheese. It’s grilled and it has cheese and Italian ingredients, so the name fits.
Start with good bread. Sandwich bread is good for a packed lunch, but for a summer meal treat, fresh bread is a must. Check the bakery section at your grocery or swing by Panera Bread. The other option is making your own, but few people have time for that.
This particular sandwich was made from a sliced sour dough loaf. Instead of using butter, brush the grill side of both slices with olive oil.
An electric skillet or stove top skillet can be used for the sandwich. If you have a panini press, it also works well.
Place one piece of bread, oil side down, on a preheated skillet. You’ll want to cook on medium heat because you don’t want the outside of the bread to be perfectly seared before the cheese melts inside.
Layer sliced mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil leaves on the bread and top with the other slice. Occasionally flip the sandwich back and forth so the outside does not burn before the cheese melts.
When the outside is a nice toasted brown and cheese is melted, remove from heat and enjoy.
To avoid the typical potato chip or fries side to a sandwich, twist it up with some fried zucchini or squash medallions, especially if you are lucky enough to have some fresh from the garden.
Slice into medallion circles and double dredge them. First dip them in flour, then an egg wash and lastly a seasoned mixture.
Seasoned bread crumbs work best for the last stage, but if you do not have any on hand you can add some spices to the flour instead. Italian spices or Italian seasoned bread crumbs taste great.
Pour olive oil in a skillet or fryer, just enough to cook medallions one side at a time. Place medallions into heated oil and fry until a crispy brown color on both sides, turning halfway through.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenews enterprise.com.
Italian grilled cheese
Loaf of bakery style bread
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Basil leaves, three per sandwich
Coat grill side of both slices of bread with olive oil. Place oil side of the bread on a preheated skillet. Cook on medium heat.
Place slices of mozzarella and tomatoes on the bread and add three basil leaves per sandwich. Place the other piece of bread on top of the sandwich. Occasionally flip back and forth so the cheese melts inside and the bread does not burn.
Remove from heat when bread is toasted brown and cheese melted inside.
Fried zucchini in Italian seasonings
Fried zucchini or squash in Italian seasonings
Zucchini or squash (one makes two to three servings depending on the size)
1 cup of flour
1 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Slice zucchini or squash into medallions. Dip each slice into flour, then an egg wash and seasoned bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil until crispy and brown on both sides.
Set on paper towel to drain excess oil then serve.