I need some grace, folks.
Sometimes pictures just do not quite do a recipe justice. Pressed sandwiches are not the most photogenic of subjects, especially in a world of smoothie bowls and avocado toast, but will you give my somewhat homely bistro babe a chance?
There is a crispness about the air right now that has me floating. I have avoided spending more than fifteen minutes outside for the past six weeks due to a curse we call "a Virginia summer," but now that September is upon us I cannot get outdoors enough.
On these early autumn days I like simple dinners that feel hearty and cozy without being overly complicated. These panini-style french dips are just the ticket.
I have always held deep affection in my heart for french dips. They are one of the few things I can remember my great grandmother preparing for me. Hers were everything a french dip is supposed to be and certainly my favorite sandwich up until a few weeks ago. However, when this neoclassic rendition was born, it quickly captured my heart. Melted gruyere takes this classic up a notch and makes them a bit more suited to dinner than your average french dip sandwich.
The combination of the salty gruyere alongside the tiniest smear of dijon is pretty spectacular.
This would also be such a fun meal for a crowd since it is easily multiplied. Gather on the patio and ask friends to bring salad and s'mores and call it a night.
Mr. Pedantic and I received this panini press as a wedding gift and I have loved it. Somehow sandwiches feel a bit fancier when they are flat. I have no explanation for why that seems to be the case, but we all know that it is true.
If you do not have a panini press, you can certainly make these in a frying pan just as you would grilled cheese and use the back of a sturdy spatula to press them down as much as you can.
This is also my favorite rainy day meal.
Well, at least until I find my next favorite.
Panini-Pressed French Dips
for the broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 cups beef broth
Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced shallot, dried thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring every so often, until the shallots are soft; about 3-4 minutes.
Add white wine and simmer for one minute, then stream in the beef broth and heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. While the broth simmers, prepare the sandwiches.
for the sandwiches
- 1 fresh, french baguette
- 3/4 lb thickly sliced roast beef (I love the Columbus brand)
- 3/4 lb gruyere, sliced
- dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Plug in your panini press and allow it to heat up while you assemble the sandwiches.
Slice a fresh baguette lengthwise and then make three cuts through the baguette, leaving you with four equal pieces.
Spread a very thin layer of dijon over the bottom side of each sandwich. Layer with roast beef and gruyere and top with the top half of the baguette.
Butter both sides of a panini press and press the sandwiches for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden and evenly toasted. Serve alongside cups of warm broth. Enjoy!
Cook's Note: If you do not own a panini press, you may use an electric griddle or nonstick frying pan. Simply heat the pan over medium heat and coat with butter before laying each sandwich in or on the pan. Press firmly with a heavy spatula and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side; until golden and toasted. Then flip and repeat on the opposite side. Enjoy!