Like many specialty dishes, some special equipment is required:
- One panini press. I purchased this one.
- A butter knife
- A bottle opener
- In some instances, you may need a pair of scissors.
You will need the following items:
- Bread. Sourdough is ideal, but as that is unattainable in Germany, we will use Butter Toast. Yes, that really is the name.
- Margarine or butter.
- Cheese. It wouldn't be much of a grilled cheese without cheese now would it? The type is a matter of preference. I prefer Gouda though Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese is also good. Shredded cheese works best, so whatever type you decide on, make certain the packet says "gerieben" (shredded) on it.
- More cheese. Use the blue cheese of your choice. I chose Gorgonzola.
- Smokey pork. Bacon bits or ham or both! A mistake I made was to buy ham in slices which had to be torn into smaller pieces. Don't do that! Make sure to buy the ham that is already cut into little cubes.
- Beer. Two (2) or three (3) bottles of your Lieblingsbier.
- A packet of something yummy. In the photo above, one can see that I chose sliced salami. This is a honey pot ingredient to keep you from eating up the ones you actually need.
Before we use any of our appliances, I'd like to take a moment to talk about kitchen safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow the safety rules which come with your appliances. Knowing how to use your appliances properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this, there is no more important safety rule, than to wear these, (tap, tap) safety glasses. Now let's cook!
- Open the bread. There will be a little device made from either plastic or plastic coated wire that keeps the bread slices from falling out onto the floor. Remove this device, but take notice of where you lay it; otherwise when you go to put the unused bread away, the slices will all fall out onto the floor.
- Next remove four (4) slices of bread. My panini press can make two (2) panini at a time, so I need four (4) slices. This may vary. Math alert! To determine how many slices you need, count the number of forms in the press and use this formula: slices = forms x 2.
- Open one (1) of the bottles of beer and place it to the side of the preparation area. It should be as far as possible from the appliance, while still remaining within reach.
- The instructions that come with the panini press say to remove the crust from the bread. I scoffed at this and chose not to (remember, I am a professional). I then did an experiment, where I tried it both ways. And they were right, the sandwich is better tasting without the crust. To remove the crust, lay the bread flat on your food preparation surface and use the butter knife to cut around the edges, just inside of the line where the dark part of the bread meets the light part. The leftover parts are safe to snack on and in fact can be used as hors d'oeuvres.
- Remove the lid from the margarine tub. If the tub is new, you may have to remove a foil or plastic liner as well.
- Take the butter knife and scrape out some margarine. Spread the margarine on to one side of each piece of bread. You don't have to be very neat or worry about filling all the bread-pores like you would when making toast, as the margarine will melt and get all over the bread for you.
- Place the bread in the press taking care to line the bread up with the forms. Make sure the buttered side is down. If you forget which side is buttered, drop the bread onto the floor. The side making contact with the floor is the buttered side.
- It is time now to place cheese on the sandwich. If the cheese packet is new, open it first. Many packets have a tab and the words, "Tear here" indicating that is where to tear. Others, however, might not and you may have to use scissors. Remove some of the shredded cheese and place it on the bread. The bread should be completely covered and the cheese should make a little hill in the center. If you spill any of the cheese shreds, they cannot be used, and should be snacked on.
- Take a sip now of the beer. Cooking is thirsty work.
- Use your butter knife again, this time to cut off some of the Gorgonzola cheese and put it in the middle of each little cheese hill. (You may have to open this package first as well, if so, see the instructions two steps up.)
- Add the ham cubes. The ham cubes should lightly cover the cheese which in turn is covering the bread. You may find it convenient to first smoosh the cheese hills into cheese plateaus in order to keep the ham cubes from rolling off. Be sure to snack on any spillage.
- Prepare two (2) more slices of crustless, buttered bread and cover the cheesy landscape. This time the buttered side should be facing up.
- Activate the panini press. Mine is activated by placing the plug (the pointy bit at the end of the cord) into the power outlet. More expensive units may have a switch. If unsure, consult the manual.
- Close the lid. When cooking, this is how the panini press should look.
- Wait about five (5) minutes. This is a great time to sip some more beer.
- Remove the panini from the forms in the panini press and serve!
- Repeat as desired. When finished, be sure to remember to deactivate the panini press by removing the plug from the power outlet. Should you forget to do so, most presses will remind you with an audible alert via your house's smoke alarm and by filling your house with a burnt Teflon smell.