Mozzarella Panini with Pressed Apricot & Pickled Red Onion
Sweet Spanish pan de orejon (apricot-almond cake) and tangy pickled red onion cut through the cheese’s creamy richness in this pressed sandwich. Find pan de orejon in some cheese shops and specialty stores. Plan ahead to make the pickled red onion, as it must sit overnight.
PICKLED RED ONION
- 1 red onion
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 loaf black olive ciabatta
- 1 ball (1 pound) fresh mozzarella
- ½- to ¾-pound wedge pan de orejon (apricot-almond cake)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- PICKLED RED ONION: Peel and slice red onion into thin rounds. (A mandolin may be helpful.) Place in a glass bowl or jar.
- In a small pot, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour over onion and let sit, stirring occasionally. (The rings will break up and separate.) When mixture reaches room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Let sit overnight, or until onion rings are soft and pink.
- SANDWICH: Cut ciabatta into ½-inch slices. Slice mozzarella into ¼- to ½-inch circles. Cut pan de orejon into ¼-inch slices. Remove a few spoonfuls of pickled red onion from liquid and drain on paper towels while preparing remaining ingredients.
- Arrange 6 pairs of bread slices, side by side. On one, place a circle or two of mozzarella, and season with salt and pepper. Top with a slice or two of the apricot cake, and then with pickled onion. Top with another slice or two of mozzarella, and season again with salt and pepper. Top with second slice of bread. Drizzle or brush bread with olive oil.
- Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan, oil side down, and cover with a lid. Toast until golden brown. Brush or drizzle the second side with oil and flip. Cover and toast other side, until browned. Remove, slice, and serve immediately.
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