I was going to end with this recipe because it was my FAVORITE of all the apple recipes… I decided against this because I wanted anyone who bought (or is going to buy) ham for their “Apple, Ham & Brie Sandwich” to get a double-duty use out of their ham. The ham with the brie and apples was a wonderful lunch, but this panini is hard to beat… we will be eating this every other week for the rest of our lives if I have anything to say about it! Really, it’s that yummy…
If you read the word “panini” and were about to gloss over this recipe because you don’t have a panini maker… READ ON!
Not only is this recipe too delicious to pass up but you can always make a grilled sandwich in a skillet. No panini-maker required! If you have one already… WONDERFUL! It’s time to pull it out!
A few notes…
1. If you hate mustard or just whole-grain mustard…
First of all: I’m sorry. You are missing a delicious part of life if you have no mustard in it (all you mustard-haters out there… I used to be one of you… we all have foods we don’t like no matter what anyone says… but I still think you should muster up the courage to try this… it might just convert you).
Second of all: You should try using it in this recipe anyways. I think what makes it so delicious is the combination of the mustard, thyme, ham, gruyere and apple all blending together in each savory bite. Yellow mustard won’t do the trick so get the whole-grain stuff (trust me).
2. Gruyere… kind of a stinky smelling cheese… but when it melts over your ham and apples it becomes delectable. Just writing about this panini makes me want it for dinner tonight…
Okay, so you know how I feel about the panini… let’s see what you think!
Peel, quarter, core, and thinly slice those apples. You need 1/2 an apple per sandwich so how many you need depends on how many paninis you are making! Pull thyme leaves off their stems until you have 1/2 TBSP per apple used (I used 1 TBSP for my 2 apples). You don’t want the stems so pick any of those out. The leaves come off pretty easily if you pull them off of a single stem and just pull your fingers along the stem to remove them.
Some interesting facts about thyme:
1. They are a member of the mint family
2. Honey that comes from bees that feed on thyme flower nectar is a gourmet delicacy
3. Despite bees liking the thyme flower, insects are repelled by thyme… so you can steep fresh thyme in hot water, strain it, put it in an empty spray bottle, and spray it around doorways and windows to repel those pests!
MOVING ON!!… Here’s the apple and thyme steps:
Put a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan has heated up a bit, melt your butter and then add your apples and thyme….
My mouth is watering… Saute the apples for about 4 minutes. You want them to absorb the flavor from the butter and thyme but you don’t want to cook them so long that they become soggy. Take them off the heat to cool while you begin assembling each panini.
While your apples cook, shred your gruyere… you need 1/2 cup or so for each sandwich…
Time to assemble the sandwiches! Start with your whole-grain mustard, add 1/4 cup of cheese, top with your ham and apples, add 1/4 cup more cheese and then top with another bread slice that you’ve spread the mustard on:
I PRE-heated my panini maker to medium heat so it was ready to go for my sandwiches. Spray the grill or your pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking and throw them on! It’s about 5-7 minutes in the panini grill or 3-4 minutes per side in a pre-heated pan on your stovetop. Basically, you want them browned to your liking! You be the judge of when it’s done!
Here’s the final, delectable panini…
And yes… let your kiddos try this sandwich… they might just like it… (mine did!)…
Oh! Almost forgot… let’s give credit to the chef! Click here for Giada’s recipe.