Tuesday, September 11, 2012

apple, fennel & cheddar cheese panini

i have a love/hate relationship with fall.  it is such a beautiful season...warm, bright and sunny here in california with days that start out crisp & cool and then heat up in the afternoon sun.  the leaves in the vineyards turn glorious colors...deep red, vivid orange, dark magenta, bright yellow.  dusk comes earlier each day and the holiday season begins.  this transition period makes me sad to see summer (my favorite season) end but eager to experience all that fall offers.
so when food network picked apples to feature for summerfest this week it seemed a perfect choice.  apples are such a quintessential fall fruit but are actually ripe and delicious in late summer.  when choosing a recipe i decided i was not quite ready for apple desserts as i am grabbing every bit of summer fruit that i can (peaches, please don't leave me yet!), but apple, fennel and cheddar cheese paninis would be perfect for this time of year.

i have always loved the classic combination of apple and cheddar cheese.  adding the sweet, crunchy, licorice taste of fennel and sweet hot mustard takes this flavor profile to another level.  grilling it all together panini style...over the top!

i have a panini press so these sandwiches are easy and quick to make whenever i want.  if you don't have a panini maker you can also make this as more of a classic grilled cheese...either way works.

all photos courtesy peter padoven
apple, fennel & cheddar cheese panini (i like these with a really good whole wheat bread but sourdough, french or raisin bread is also delicious)

4 slices whole wheat bread
sweet hot mustard
1 medium granny smith or jazz* apple, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 slices extra sharp cheddar cheese
black pepper

spread about a tablespoon of mustard on each slice of bread. layer 2 slices of cheese on top of the mustard on one slice of bread.  add a row of sliced apples and one of fennel slices over the cheese.  top with another slice of bread, mustard side covering the fennel.  repeat steps with remaining 2 slices of bread.

follow the directions on your panini press to grill the 2 sandwiches.  cut in half and serve immediately.  (if you are making grilled cheese sandwiches, spread butter or olive oil on the outside of each slice of bread.  grill in a skillet until each side is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

happy transition everyone!
here are some other apple recipes you may enjoy:
purple cabbage slaw
roasted apple and caramelized onion soup
apple and pear crisp
caramel apple pie

now it is your turn to participate in summerfest. simply leave your apple tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit food network and do the same same. be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from the other participating bloggers:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake
Virtually Homemade: Apple Pie Muffin
Chez Us: Baked Apples With Creme Anglaise
Daily*Dishin: Easier-than-Pie Creamy Apple Bake
Made by Michelle: Pear Apple Crisp
From My Corner of Saratoga: Spiced Apple Dutch Baby
Thursday Night Dinner: Apple Bread Pudding
Devour: 7 Apple Desserts Beyond Pie
Healthy Eats: Marrying the Apple With New Flavors
FN Dish: Let's Go Apple Picking

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vianney said...

What a delish combo~~

vianney~sweet life

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thank you vianney. hope you try the panini

Denise said...

I love that you used apples in your panini, and the addition of cheddar and fennel is brilliant!

Jeanette said...

I love the idea of fennel and apple in a panini.

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks denise and jeanette! i have made the apple and cheese version for years...i just started adding the fennel...now my new favorite! (btw, your baked apples and gluten free apple cupcakes look amazing) love working at food network with you guys for #summerfest