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Focaccia Panini with Prosciutto alla Caprese

Focaccia Panini with Prosciutto alla Caprese

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I am obsessed with my panini maker. Many of the new versions have two-sided cooking surfaces, like this one, that allow you to use them as a griddle when you’re not grilling pressed sandwiches. This panini is unique because it features focaccia, a dense, “quilty” Italian bread whose spongy texture soaks up flavor. I also like the fact that focaccia doesn’t have an overly chewy crust — it’s perfect for your picnic enjoyment!


  • 1 store-bought focaccia (approximately 10 inches square and 2 inches thick)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella (use the best quality you can get)
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 ounces good-quality prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh arugula leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Slice the focaccia in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into quarters, forming four tops and bottoms. (If you prefer smaller sandwiches, cut accordingly.) Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of the top and bottom layers with the olive oil. Brush the balsamic vinegar on each slice in the same way.

Arrange the bottom slices on a tray and layer the ingredients on them one at a time. Start with the mozzarella and then top with the tomato, the prosciutto, and the arugula. Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with a little more vinegar, if you like. Add the top slices to close the sandwiches, and grill on your panini press until the mozzarella is melted, about 2 minutes. If you don’t have a panini press, place the paninis on a grill pan or griddle and press them with the bottom of a heavy skillet covered in aluminum foil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Easy Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Focaccia bread is one of our favorites! The simple dough is flavored with olive oil and salt. Before baking it’s also drizzled with more olive oil – gives the baked bread a delicious crispy crust.

I like to sprinkle mine with some rosemary and coarse flaky salt before baking – more of a simple preparation. I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds of highly decorated focaccia loaves on the internet, they’re beautiful! – but personally, I don’t like to add too many toppings – wouldn’t want to interfere with the crust getting nice and crispy.

How Do You Enjoy Your Focaccia?

Focaccia bread is the perfect accompaniment to pretty much any meal! It doesn’t really need butter as it’s rich and delicious with the added olive oil. We love it with grilled meals, caprese salad and pretty much any soup or saucy dish you can dunk it into!

Focaccia Makes Great Panini Sandwiches!

It also makes awesome panini sandwiches. Just slice your focaccia bread in half horizontally, layer in your favorite fillings and pop it in your panini press or griddle. (No need to brush with additional oil – it crisps up beautifully.) Lots of times we’ll eat half the loaf with dinner one night and have panini sandwiches the next night!

How Do You Make Focaccia Bread?

Gather Dry & Wet Ingredients:

If you have a digital kitchen scale, I recommend weighing your flour – as it’s hard to be consistently accurate when measuring with a measuring cup. Stir together your dry ingredients. Add your warm water/oil mixture (not over 110 degrees F.)

Mix, Knead & Rise:

Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2. It will be a sticky/wet mixture, almost like a thick batter. It won’t form a ball and “clean the sides of the bowl” like some pizza and bread dough recipes. It reminds me a lot of the texture of ciabatta dough.

Let rise either on the counter or for several hours/overnight. Transfer to an oiled pan and let rise again. It will form lots of yummy bubbles.

Rise Again, Top & Bake!

Transfer the dough to a greased baking pan and let rise until doubled. Look at that gorgeous holey, almost lava-like texture with all those gluten strands!

Gently poke your fingers (dampened or oiled hands help with sticking) into the dough before baking, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle on toppings! Pop in the oven and soon you’ll be enjoying your delicious, golden brown and crispy focaccia bread!

Ingredients in this caprese panini

For this caprese grilled cheese we’re keeping things simple and using only 6 ingredients.

  • Focaccia Bread: A good sandwich begins with great bread, so we’re using 2 pieces of focaccia for this tomato mozzarella panini (here’s how to make super easy focaccia). You could also use 4 slices of sourdough.
  • Butter: To help achieve that crispy golden brown color, use a pat of butter (or mayonnaise) on the outside of the bread.
  • Pesto: Pesto serves two purposes here. Not only is it a powerhouse of flavor, but it acts as a buffer between the bread and the watery fillings (tomato and spinach), meaning no soggy sandwich! Make your own classic pesto, or make it with carrot tops!
  • Tomato: A staple of a caprese panini! Grab a large, ripe tomato and slice it up for layering onto the sandwiches. Any variety of tomato will do!
  • Mozzarella: Likewise, you’ll need 2-4 slices of low moisture mozzarella.
  • Spinach: Finally, a handful of fresh spinach adds a boost of color and nutrition to this panini, without compromising on flavor.

Different Types Of Focaccia Bread

You can find its variations all across Italy. Thin or tall, salty, salt free or even sweet crunchy and oily or soft and friable, with topping, plain or stuffed with cured meat &ndash just to name a few.

Interestingly, ingredients remain mainly the same for all types of focaccia: water, flour, yeast, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Pretty much as those for pizza.

But the recipe, the taste so as as the name changes when you move from one region of Italy to another.

In Rome, for example, it&rsquos lighter and a bit taller (just enough to slice in in half and make a sandwich). Typical to Rome it&rsquos called Pizza Bianca. The best and most classic way to enjoy it is cut in half and make mortadella sandwich (or mortazza).

In Tuscany &ldquofocaccia&rdquo or better to say focaccia type of flatbread is called schiacciata, ciaccia o schiaccia, which literaly means &ldquopressed&rdquo due to its characteristic dimples. It&rsquos less browned on the top and sometime might be even pale-ish with semi-crunchy crust.

About an inch thick it&rsquos perfect for panini.

Both schiacciata and pizza bianca compared to classic focaccia have a higher percentage of water and high hydration results in a softer crumb.

There are also other types out there, less famous but still delicious.

Focaccia Barese stuffed with tomatoes.

Schiacciata catanese (schiacciate di Catania) stuffed with tuma cheese (first salt cheese) and anchovies.

Focaccia or schiacciata messinese (schiacciata di Messina) stuffed with potatoes, broccoli, tuma cheese, tomatoes and more.

In Liguria, you&rsquoll also find another typical and pretty famous Focaccia di Recco or fugassa cö formaggio in genoese dialect &ndash focaccia stuffed with fresh cheese.

Its origin seems to go back to the twelfth century. According to a document thin bread stuffed with fresh cheese was offered to the crusaders leaving towards the Holy Land.

Today we&rsquoll be making the most famous and classic version of this bread &ndash Classic Focaccia Genovese.

It&rsquos the mother to all flatbreads. It&rsquos about ½ inch thick, a little chewy but still soft inside with a delicious olive oil crust on top and on the bottom.

Pin it for later!

Spicy Caprese Panini

  • Author: Mila Furman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1 x


Few things in life are as comforting as a crunchy panini with a creamy and cheesy, gooey center. This spicy caprese panini boasts a super tender and crunchy focaccia bread and is spread with a deliciously spicy and creamy aioli. Prepare to meat the ultimate panini.



  • 4 focaccia buns (whichever ones you choose to get)
  • 1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 ball of Stella Fresh Mozzarella (thinly sliced)
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 8 basil leaves
  • olive oil to brush the panini grill with

Smokey Chipotle and Sundried Tomato Mayo

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 4 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 chipotle in adobe (JUST TWO PEPPERS not two cans)
  • 4 – 5 sundried tomatoes


Smokey Chipotle and Sundried Tomato Mayo

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Feel free to leave some of the chipotles or tomatoes as chunks if you would like.


  1. Preheat panini press to high.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches first by smearing both sides with the chipotle mayo then layering on the fresh mozzarella cheese followed by the tomatoes and then the onion. Top off with the other side of focaccia.
  3. Brush down the panini press with olive to ensure that the panini does not stick.
  4. Grill the sandwiches for 7-8 minutes or until the sandwiches are crispy on top and melty on the inside.


This recipe was slightly inspired by the smoky Frontega chicken sandwich at Panera. However I decided to make it without the chicken and honestly it did not lose any of its appeal.
You can also make this in a regular pan just like a classic grilled cheese. Just be careful when flipping it so it does not spill out everywhere. You can use a heavy brick or pot to weigh down the sandwich so that it gets flatter while it’s cooking.


Escali Primo Digital Scale

Foreman Grill Sandwich Recipes

One of the great things about the George Foreman Grill is its ability to make restaurant-style grilled sandwiches Those delicious sandwiches you pay top dollar for at popular delis and restaurants are available to make for a fraction of the price and in the convenience of your own kitchen. Panini sandwiches, “melt” sandwiches, Cuban sandwiches and more! The back hinge of the Foreman Grill allows the top plate to sit higher up so you can grill a sandwich with ease.

Usually all you need is to spread some butter, margarine or olive oil on the outside of the bread and place it on the grill. Pressing down gently on the top of the grill for a few seconds also presses all the ingredients together nicely. You can also use cooking sprays to spray the outside of the bread. A quick brush with olive oil seems to work the best though.

You can also make some deluxe versions of your favorite sandwiches such as Grilled Cheese Deluxe of ham and cheddar deluxe my adding some fresh sliced tomatoes, bacon, dijon mustard, horseradish, sprouts, etc. Make the sandwiches with any of these ingredients and you’ve got an easy and delicious meal. The kids will LOVE the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches or grilled cheese with bacon!

So don’t limit using the Foreman Grill just for steaks or chicken at dinner time. Try making a delicious grilled sandwich!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) French bread baguette, cut crosswise into 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (8-ounce) heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

Cut bread pieces in half horizontally. Brush uncut sides of halves evenly with oil. Layer bottom halves of bread evenly with tomato slices, cheese, and basil leaves. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, and, if desired, vinegar. Cover with top halves.

Place sandwiches on panini grill cook 2 minutes or until golden brown and cheese melts. Cut sandwiches in half, if desired.

Kids Can Help: Another way to involve kids in cooking is to take them shopping with you. When it's tomato season, most farmers' markets have an amazing selection. Let your kids smell and touch the tomatoes before asking them to choose their favorites. Chances are greater that they'll eat them when they've been a part of the process!

How to make a Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Panini:

  1. Start off with high-quality bread. My preference is always a good bakery sourdough bread because it toasts up so beautifully. Ciabatta, focaccia, or bakery white bread are also really tasty options.
  2. Spread a thin layer of pesto on the insides of both pieces of bread. Top with fresh mozzarella slices and then layer with fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes should be about 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. You can use any type of fresh mozzarella or even sliced mozzarella cheese.
  3. Place a pat of butter on the panini grill or in the skillet. Grill the sandwiches until the mozzarella is completely melted and the bread is a golden color.

*If you want to add some protein, feel free to add some sliced turkey or ham to this panini.

I love to hear from you! If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and give this recipe a rating. Sign up for my newsletter below so you never miss a recipe. Thank you for following along! I truly do have the greatest readers. FOLLOW ME ON: INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK PINTEREST

    1. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, and garlic in small bowl to blend season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Layer prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil over bottom of bread. Drizzle lightly with dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press top of bread over. Cut bread equally into 4 sandwiches.
    2. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, pressing occasionally to compact with large spatula, about 5 minutes per side.

    This was very good exactly as written. I'm from MN, so instead of using fresh tomatoes I served it with tomato soup on a cold and snow night. It was a smashing success.

    This is so delicious and easy! Use ciabatta bread and just a touch more garlic with good quality prosciutto and fresh tomatoes. And you need a good panini press (ours is a Cuisinart) to give it those wonderfully authentic grill marks.

    We used the extra dressing for dipping. It was fantastic. I used loaves of Cuban bread I purchased at the regular grocery store here in North Florida and I only added salt to the dressing, not the sandwich. I made no other changes and it was absolutely delicious.

    I made individual sandwiches to accommodate a gluten intolerance, using ciabatta rolls and small, gluten-free baguettes. I split the rolls, brushed both sides liberally with the dressing (GF bread first), then broiled the two types of bread(on separate pans) until crusty. I skipped the grilling step, and these were still amazing!

    Very good. easy to make and tasted so fresh. Used grill pan.

    This is a great sandwich and has become a family tradition! I would not change anything. great use for our George Foreman grill.

    This is a fantastic sandwich. Made as directed, except instead of pouring the dressing over the top, I brushed it on both insides of the bread, go heavy on the dressing too, it is tasty!

    Made this per the recipe but did not use all of the dressing as it would've been too oily. It was a good sandwich but definitely not 4 forks.

    Followed to the letter. Our family did not enjoy this.

    This has become a family and friend favorite. We have used chicken instead of prosciutto for those who are on a low sodium diet. I grate fresh Parmesan cheese into the sauce. We will make these for years to come.

    This is the best recipe! I not only use prosciutto but also calabrese and homemade copa. I use more balsamic vinegar for more flavor.

    This was a fantastic sandwich! My lunch guests loved it. I plan on making it many more times. Mmmmmm

    Really delicious sandwich, and incredibly easy to make. One thing I discovered is that the ciabatta bread didn't quite have enough thickness to hold up to the dressing. A slightly denser bread (focaccia maybe) might work better. Otherwise, fantastic!

    Made this sandwich yesterday to take along on a boat ride with friends and it was awesome!! I grilled it before leaving the house, wrapped it in foil and brought it in the cooler. We sliced it and ate it after an hour on the boat and it was great - the dressing really added a nice flavor and the sandwich held up really well for the trip - which sometimes isn't easy on a boat trip. Will definately make this again - for a picnic, or even just an afternoon at home.

    Mmmm. Fantastic! Delicious! A keeper for sure! Even with winter tomatoes and basil, this recipe still manages to make the flavours shine! I don't think I should have added salt though. The prosciutto probably has enough in it - it was kinda salty. But mmm!

    Made this last evening for dinner and it was outstanding. Followed the recipe exactly. The fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden gave off the perfect blends to the taste buds. Almost as good as the panini we ate in Rome, Italy. Definitely a keeper. Added the fresh asparagus salad (found on this site) as a side.

    Makes a very simple, fast lunch. Used purple basil from my garden, quality tom's from the grocery store and Speck from Trader Joe's. Unfortunately we don't have good bread here in Florida so I used a french loaf from the grocery as well. Followed the recipe for the dressing but used the grocery store balsamic recommended by Americas Test Kitchen - Quality makes a difference. Put the sandwich on the grill of 3-4 minutes each side using my LeCreuset skillet as a weight. Worked perfectly. Surprised my SO who was working hard in the yard. I'll make these often and won't hesitate to make them for company.

    Absolutely delicious. I only used a fraction of the prosciutto called for--maybe 2-3 ounces of the REALLY GOOD imported kind that's $24/lb. We're going to do this at least once a week while our summer tomatoes are coming in!

    Delicious! Would recommend cutting the dressing in half as had quite a bit left over. Grilled on my panini grill and was loved by my book club!



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