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Mozzarella Panini with Pressed Apricot & Pickled Red Onion

Mozzarella Panini with Pressed Apricot & Pickled Red Onion

Leslie Orlandini
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.



  • 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.

Stylist Leslie Orlandini

Leslie Orlandini is a chef and an accomplished food stylist in print and television. She has been nominated for both James Beard and Emmy awards and is a veteran of thousands of cooking shows and segments. You can learn more about her through her website: http://leslieorlandini.com/

Photographer Mark Ferri

Mark Ferri is a graduate of Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. He believes in a simple, direct approach that captures the natural beauty and appetite appeal of food. Mark celebrates a life-long passion for food by frequently exploring new restaurants in New York and in Europe, and loves to cook and entertain at his home in the Hudson Valley. Learn more about Mark on his website: http://www.markferriphoto.com/