Tuesday March 27, 2012 | 03:26 PM

Is it inelegant to smother a sandwich?

Is it considered crass to press the lid of a pot onto the face of a turkey on rye, pressing it into a hot pan and simultaneously smashing it into toasted submission?

I guess I don't care if it is. Smothering gives a sandwich personality

It's a little tip I culled from a cooking segment on the morning news a few weeks ago. If you're pining for a panini, but don't have any panini-specific kitchen appliances at your disposal, you can use a lid in lieu of a press.

So I tried it.

I bought some fresh bread, sliced it and drizzled a bit of olive oil onto the outside of the slices.

I gathered up some flavorful ingredients like specialty cheeses, fresh spinach and fruit. I piled my sandwich together and placed it on a hot skillet.

And then I squashed it with all my might. And that's some might.

My first sandwich was over-stuffed, and the insides spilled out onto the pan.

My second experienced a splitting of the crust, I believe because it was sliced too thick.

But no matter what internal ingredients spilled out onto the pan, and no matter what sort of demented shape the sandwich took on, they were still good paninis. They made every untoasted sandwich of my past look like pale, flabby, couch-lounging lumps of bread. But then again, I tend to be overly dramatic with my descriptions of things.

Two fine panini ideas:

Rachel panini: A twist on the Reuben using sliced turkey, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and thousand island dressing on marble rye bread.

Apple, spinach, brie and fig panini: The trio of spinach, apple and brie has been a long-standing favorite of mine...in the three months that I've been learning how to cook. But the addition of some fig preserves I stumbled upon at the store gave this sandwich some additional dimension.

For more panini inspiration: 50 Panini ideas


About the Author

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Shannon Bryan is a feature writer for the Portland Press Herald and content producer for MaineToday Media's entertainment website, www.mainetoday.com.

And here's a well-known truth: Shannon can't cook. She's also ostroconophobic (in Maine?!?), but in a foodie place like southern Maine, she's determined to learn how to cook, eat, and order with the best of them. Read about her culinary crusade:
Pans on fire

She's also an investigator into all that's strange and entertaining to do around here. Those findings are gathered here:
Out Going: Things to do in southern Maine

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