If you have been following Peace, Love & Chocolate, you know I have been on a panini and bacon + chocolate kick. Finally, I combine them both. This recipe was first debuted at our chocolate degustation table at the TED conference in Monterey California three years ago. TED is one of the most inspiring events of my year. It is a gathering of active minds and those that break new ground, reinvent, question, discuss and share. My team and I have fallen so in love with TED talks that we now devote Friday mornings at Vosges to TED FRIDAYS and show TED talks to our entire company. Everyone leaves feeling very inspired and thinking outside the box. Maybe it would be cool for your company?
Certainly one of the most memorable speakers I heard was Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a brilliant Indiana native and Harvard grad who studies the brain and shares insight through the experience of her own stroke. Watch and listen here. (Warning, you may not want to watch WHILE you are enjoying your panino as she displays a real, human brain.)
Back to the panini at hand…Use your left hemisphere to follow the easy recipe and treat yourself to a Bacon + Chocolate panino. Then, step to the right of your left hemisphere to taste and feel the aromas, textures and flavors. At our Vosges Degustation Soirees we really play up the savory element of the bacon in this paninis by adding a wonderful slice of gruyere cheese, a piece of sizzling bacon, a dollop of whole grain mustard and spear each panino with a cherry tomato and a gherkin. Try this alternative as a fun hors d’oeuvre!
Mo’s Milk or Dark Bacon Bar Panini
Yields One Sandwich
Equipment needed: Panini press or waffle iron or clothes iron and cast iron plan (see tips below)
2 Italian country bread slices about 4-5 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick
2 tbsp Sea salted butter, the great French brand, Isigny Ste Mere or make your own by mixing 1/2 tsp Maldon salt and 2 tbsp of a fabulous butter. One of my favorites is from Vermont Butter and Cheese Company
Pinch Maldon salt
2 squares Vosges‘ Mo’s Milk or Dark Bacon Bar
2 strips of crispy bacon (optional), I love the thick sliced
Spread butter on all sides of the bread. Place bacon bar squares on one piece of bread, followed by strips of bacon if you are using them and a sprinkle of salt. Place other piece of buttered bread on top and press with Panini press until golden brown.
Make sure your bread doesn’t have many gaping holes or your fillings may seep through and burn.
If you don’t have a Panini press substitute with a waffle iron as you see I did in the photos. Or try a cast iron skillet hold with a clothes iron on top – quite the contraption I assure you.
Make sure the bread you use isn’t overly crusty or it may cut your mouth a bit when pressed. At the same time don’t choose a overly soft bread not a good quality sign either and it won’t have the rigidity. I suggest a crusty ciabatta or italian peasant bread.
Use organic or home grown where possible.