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Grilled Prosciutto, Fontina & Sun-Dried Tomato Sandwiches

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Serves ten as an appetizer or two to three as a main course.

No panini press? No problem. You can still make crisp-crusted grilled Italian sandwiches, by splitting pita loaves. You can also cook these sandwiches over a very low flame on a covered gas or charcoal grill.

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5 oz. baby spinach (about 5 lightly packed cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • Three 7- to 8-inch pitas, each split into two rounds
  • 6 very thin slices prosciutto, preferably imported (about 3-1/2 oz.)

Heat the oven to 250°F. Heat the oil and garlic in a 10-inch heavy-duty skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle steadily and browns in places, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander. Let cool a couple of minutes, discard the garlic, and gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the spinach.

In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the fontina, parmigiano, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Set 3 of the pita halves on a work space and top each with 2 slices of the prosciutto. Top each evenly with the spinach mixture and set the remaining 3 pita halves on top.

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and heat the pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add one of the pita sandwiches and set another medium heavy skillet on top of the sandwich. Put 2 lb. of weights (cans work well) in the empty skillet and cook the sandwich until the bottom starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it browns and the cheese starts to melt out the sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Cook the remaining sandwiches in the same manner. Cut the sandwiches in wedges and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve a fresh Arugula Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): fat g 7; Fat Calories (kcal): 60; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3.5; Protein (g): protein g 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 13; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 490; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made one these as an appetizer for 2 of us,it was okay. I sauteed the spinach in garlic oil but did not add all the ingredients together. I just layered starting with the prosciutto and ending with the cheese. We both decided more sun-dried tomatoes would make a big difference. Also, I overlapped the prosciutto in places and it was too heavy of the prosciutto flavor. I don't think it is necessary to saute the spinach. Just lay spinach over the prosciutto, layer the rest of the ingredients. After I flipped the pita the cheese oozed out almost right away so I would say 2 minutes per side is too much.

Man, these were good! We had them for lunch - unfortunately no pita, so we just used english muffin bread. They were excellent. I thought at first that the cooking the spinach and draining it was going to be fussy and not worth it, but it took no time and was perfect. I'm definitely going to try these as appetizers soon.

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