Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goodbye Lunch: Panini Day!

It was the end of an era, my last day at the office where I’ve worked for the past 5 years. During my time with the company, I liked to try and bring everybody together for lunches. Panini day always seemed to create a buzz, bring everyone together, and everybody usually left with a smile and a full belly. So, I decided that for my last day, I would do one last Panini day with my sous-chef Aaron and finish my office legacy with a bang.
Panini day is pretty simple- usually it involves a big shop at Costco or Superstore for the basic ingredients.
We buy Panini foccacia buns, squirrely bread, two cheese options, roast turkey, salamis, pickles, olives, flavoured mustards and mayo, hot peppers, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, hot sauces, fresh veggies, and marinated chopped mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant in balsamic vinaigrette with oregano.
Once we set up all the gear, a side salad and a bowl of munchie mix (always a people pleaser) then we fired up three grills and let our 20+ hungry office mates dive in.
A Panini is a work of personal preference and you can take it many different ways. For me, I like to go thin with meat (love a sliced turkey or spicy salami) and cheese and heavy on condiments (dijon mustard, siracha sauce, and hot pepper rings. From my experience, the key to a good Panini is a marinated vegetable with olive oil component (sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, eggplant/zucchini in balsamic vinagrette) which A. keeps things crispy and B. seals the Panini together.
I wouldn’t take Panini building too seriously though, in fact, I’ve never heard anyone complain about a Panini (except for someone who cut the roof of their mouth on toasty bread.) Experiment  with deliciousness and explore some flavour combos!
Grilled sandwiches make for happy workers- and happy workers are productive workers. Be a Panini Pioneer and bring Panini Day to your office asap!

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