Do you ever dream about food?
I’m not talking about just day-dreaming of creamy frosting covered chocolate cake while you are sitting at your desk in the middle of the day…but actually dreaming-while-you-are-sleeping-in-the-middle-of-the-night dreaming of food?
For some reason, and for the first time in my entire food-centered life, I dreamt of food. Actually, I dreamt of this roasted broccoli pesto sandwiched between two pieces of grilled bread with ooey-gooey cheese spilling out from the center.
I’m telling you, it was slightly unnerving. Plus, I woke up hungry and with drool on my pillow. Go figure.
So once I shook the dreamy panini crumbs out of my hair, I hopped up and went into the kitchen to recreate my dream. (Too bad I didn’t dream of Henry Cavill huh?)
But in order to balance out the ooey-ness of my dream cheese sandwich, I added some grilled chicken, smashed chickpeas and quick pickled red onions to the roasted broccoli pesto and Havarti cheese slices before panini-ing them all to crispy perfection.
Let’s see what I can dream up tonight…
roasted broccoli pesto panini
4 slices of good quality sourdough or ciabatta bread
1 chicken breast, grilled and sliced thinly
2 ounces sliced Havarti cheese, sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas, slightly smashed with a fork
pickled red onions, recipe follows
1/2 cup roasted broccoli pesto, recipe follows
Heat a panini grill and spray with non-stick cooking spray while you assemble the sandwiches. (Alternately, you can use a gas grill and an upside-down cast iron skillet – as I did – if you don’t have a panini grill.)
Lay the four slices of bread on a counter top or cutting board. Divide the roasted broccoli pesto into half and spread each half onto two slices of the bread. On the other two remaining slices, spread equal amounts of the smashed chickpeas. Place the sliced cheese on top of the chickpeas and place the picked onions on top of the cheese. Add the sliced chicken to the cheese and then place the bread slices with the pesto on top of the chicken to make a whole sandwich.
Place the sandwiches on the panini grill and cook until heated through and the cheese is melted. (Or, place the sandwiches on a heated gas grill and place an upside-down cast iron skillet on top of the sandwiches. Grill on high for about 3 minutes, and then carefully remove the skillet, flip the sandwiches over to the non-grilled side, and replace the skillet on top of the sandwiches. Cook for another three minutes or until the cheese is melted all ooey-gooey.)
quick pickled red onion
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Put the sliced onions into a heat-proof bowl. Place the vinegar, sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions and give the onions a stir. Place the bowl into the refrigerator and chill.
roasted broccoli pesto
1 head of broccoli
2 tbsp. olive oil, and another 1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup of basil leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted almonds (or nut or seed of your choice)
Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Wash the broccoli and cut it into florets. If you are using the stem (and by all means, do!) slice the stems into smaller pieces. Toss the broccoli pieces with the 2 tbsp. of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and place it on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Roast the broccoli until cooked, but still crunchy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a food processor, place the garlic cloves and pulse until they are chopped finely. Add the nuts and pulse until they are chopped, but still have some big pieces. Add the broccoli and the basil and the cheese to the processor and pulse just until the broccoli and basil are just chopped. At this point, turn the processor on and drizzle the 1/2 cup olive oil into the mixture. Open the processor and taste the pesto. Adjust seasonings as needed, and if the mixture is too thick, blend in a bit of water to thin it to the consistency you like.
**I wouldn’t recommend putting potatoes into this recipe, although the roasted broccoli pesto would be great on some baked or boiled potatoes. My son dropped a few into my processor when I walked away t o get my camera. Maybe he’s dreaming of roasted broccoli pesto covered potatoes…**