Elizabeth Minchilli and her new cookbook, “The Italian Table: Creating Festive Meals for Family and Friends,” inspires us to take our open-face sandwich making skills to a whole new level.
Minchilli is living the good life in the eternal city — Rome.
She is a blogger, tour guide, food stylist, cookbook author and more. Elizabeth Minchilli is the kind of girl you want to have lunch dates with while sipping wine.
When Elizabeth visits a friend’s house in Italy for an afternoon of sandwiches, she gets so much more than just sliced bread, she gets a panini party in Umbria. On this particular occasion, Minchilli’s dear friend, Chef Nancy Silverton, prepared tiny works of art in the form of perfectly made open-face sandwiches.
This panini party is just a taste of “The Italian Table.” Readers of Minchilli’s cookbook are given game plans for recreating festive Italian meals for family and friends. Each section of the book includes the setting, a menu plan, what to drink, tips for timing, and inspiration for setting the table.
Bagna Cauda Toast with Rosso Tardivo Radicchio, Egg, and Anchovies
Finocchiona and Roasted Pepper Panino
We love the Panini section because we can’t get enough sandwiches in our lives! Who isn’t on this same page? Sandwiches are the perfect vessel to showcase some good quality ingredients, and we love quality, that’s why we purchase Melissa’s Produce whenever we spot the logo at our local grocery store.
The Finocchiona and Roasted Pepper Panino recipe is a perfect example of when quality ingredients shine. A thick slice of country bread stands up to the weight of salty salami and deliciously roasted peppers. If they’re in season, we’ll pick Enjoya Peppers.
We heard Minchilli when she said roasting the peppers was the most time-consuming step. And if we’re preparing a spread of sandwich art for guests, time is of the essence. Melissa’s Fire Roasted Sweet Red Bell Peppers is the perfect life hack for this situation, they are ready-to-go right out of the jar. As a result, you have an even easier way to prepare this recipe.
However, if Melissa’s Enjoya pepeprs are in season, we’ll take the time and commit to roasting. We are absolutely obsessed with these peppers; they are pleasantly sweet, very crunchy, crisp and a bit juicy. The beautiful coloring of rosy red and canary yellow striping makes them perfect for an open-face presentation.
Finocchiona and Roasted Pepper Panino
- 1 pound Melissa's Enjoya Pepeprs
- 4 rustic country Italian bread sliced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil for roasting and drizzling
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/4 pound finocchiona thinly sliced
- dill fronds or basil leaves for garnish
- fleur de sel
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, turning them about halfway through, until the peppers look wrinkled and collapsed and slightly charred. Remove them from the oven and cover them tightly with aluminum foil. Let them rest for about a half hour.
- Once cool enough to handle, use paper towels to rub off and discard the skin, then cut the peppers into quarters, removing the stems, ribs, and seeds. Put the peppers in a small bowl.
- Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil. Toast using either a panini press or a grill pan, or under the broiler. When the bread is evenly toasted, remove from the heat and rub one side with garlic.
- To assemble the panini: Set the bread on a cutting board and top it with the sliced salami, folding it in half to give it some height. Layer some of the red peppers on top, then garnish with fresh dill. Finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place on a wooden serving board. Using a sharp knife, slice each panino into three or four pieces, and serve.