Chicken Caprese Panini

We received a panini press as a wedding gift (in December of 2005) and it sat there for years before I decided to break it out and actually use it. It’s a bit of a pain to clean, but it heats up very quickly and gets the bread nice and crispy with gorgeous grill marks on it. It’s the perfect tool for a cool day when a warm sandwich is just the thing to hit the spot. I love making paninis because you can use so many different combinations of ingredients and everyone thinks they are fun. The girls get very excited when the panini press is heating up on the counter. They don’t even ask what I’m putting inside, they are just excited that paninis are on the menu.

For this sandwich, I took a combination of grilled chicken that I marinated in a balsamic vinegar/olive oil combination and Caprese salad, which is just tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Let me tell you, it’s a winning combination! It’s great for entertaining, especially if you have both vegetarians and meat eaters coming over. For the vegetarians, just omit the chicken.

I decided to roast the tomatoes to soften them and add that delicious roasted flavor to the sandwiches. I just took some Roma tomatoes (my favorite variety for Caprese salad) and put them on a cookie sheet and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with course salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roma Tomatoes for Roasting

I roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees for 8 minutes just until they were softened.

Roasted Tomatoes

For even more flavor, I marinated the chicken breasts before grilling. I put them in a marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt and black pepper about 4 hours before I grilled them. I used an indoor grill pan, which gives them the most beautiful grill marks.

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Before I assembled the sandwiches, I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) on the Ciabatta rolls so that they wouldn’t be too dry. Between the roasted tomatoes and the cheese, they really don’t need any “sauce” to speak of, but the olive oil keeps the bread a little moist.

Ciabatta Rolls

Time for assembly! Each panini gets two thin slices of mozzarella cheese, three tomato slices and 4 large basil leaves. Add one chicken breast for the meat eaters.

Caprese Panini

I have a large panini press, so I can fit two at a time. About 5 minutes on the panini press is just right to melt the cheese and crisp up the rolls.

These are substantial. No sides are necessary! The fresh basil, roasted tomatoes and marinated chicken breasts are bursting with flavor and the crispy Ciabatta roll holds everything together. Try them at your next party. You can even slice them into quarters and serve them as an appetizer.

I hope you will try them at home! Come back and leave a comment and let me know how you like them and tag #ketchumkitchen on social media to show me a photo.

Chicken Caprese Panini

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Caprese Panini

Ingredients

  • 4 Ciabatta rolls
  • 4 chicken breasts, marinated & grilled
  • 3 roma tomatoes, sliced and roasted
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • 8 thin slices of mozzarella cheese
  • For the marinade
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbl balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for the marinade and add to a large ziplock bag, along with the 4 chicken breasts and marinade for four hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • On a cookie sheet, spread out the sliced Roma tomatoes and drizzle with EVOO, salt & pepper. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat up the grill pan on medium-high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and discard the excess. Grill the chicken breasts for 12 minutes on the 1st side and 9 minutes not he second side, or until grilled to doneness.
  • Slice the Ciabatta rolls in half and drizzle with EVOO. Add two slices of cheese, 4 large basil leaves, 2-3 slices of roasted tomato and one chicken breast. Cook on the panini press for about 5 minutes.
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    23 Comments

    1. Hi, this post made me hungry!!! I have always wanted a Panini press, then one day when I was cleaning out the cupboard under the breakfast bar, you know, that space where you put things and forget them 🙂 I came across a wedding gift to my mom in 1954. Her old Wear-Ever Pancake, Waffle, Griddle iron and realized I had a Panini maker all along!!! Still works great! Makes me smile to see my boys using it long after their Mee-Maw passed away 🙂

      Have a great night! Carlyn

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