Pressing Matters

There are days when I really need to have a portable lunch or dinner, but bologna on white bread just isn't what I crave. I want a hearty meal that feels special, even though what I really need is a sandwich. When that happens, I turn to my panini press, but when I am looking for something particularly memorable, it's time for roasting my filling of choice first: pork tenderloin.

Pork tenderloin is a great sandwich filler when seared and roasted and sliced thin. It's a lean cut of meat that readily accepts any number of seasonings or flavoring. I love rubbing mine with Italian seasoning, fresh garlic, and olive oil. After it's been roasted and sliced, pairing it with other Italian favorites like roasted red peppers, spinach, and fresh mozzarella mean enjoying a sandwich that's perfect on a cold day on its own or alongside your favorite bowl of soup.

If you aren't enjoying your sandwiches right away, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil immediately after you slice them in half and carry them along in a picnic basket or lunch bag for a treat on the road that will have everyone around you wishing their menu for the day was the same as yours!

Roasted Pork Paninis

  • 1 (10 oz.) pork tenderloin
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 8 slices Italian bread
  • 8 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 6 oz. roasted red peppers (drained, if using from a jar), sliced
  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • 1 large round fresh mozzarella, sliced

Rub the tenderloin generously with the Italian seasoning, garlic, and olive oil. In a large nonstick skillet, brown the tenderloin until nearly crisp on all sides and then roast in a 400° F oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to rest while you begin to assemble the sandwiches.

Preheat a panini press over medium-high heat.

Slather the outsides of the Italian bread with mayonnaise. Then layer the sliced roasted red peppers, spinach, and sliced fresh mozzarella on the inside of the bread.

Thinly slice the pork and add that to the other items on the bread. Press together into a sandwich and place on the hot panini press. Press and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the outside of the bread is crisp and golden. Remove to a plate and cool for a couple of minutes before carefully slicing in half. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

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