I became a fan of Indian cuisine in college. Having friends (or the families of friends) who showered me with the delicious variety that's offered by India, as well as schooling near New York City meant easy access to cheap and sometimes free meals from all over the world. And while I soaked up knowledge in engineering school, I also soaked up as much as I could about different cultures and how they made magic in the kitchen.
One of the things I loved about Indian food was how every meal seemed to include bread and, if I was lucky, it was the soft, buttery naan that I would adore from then on. And while I don't make Indian food without also having or making naan, I have also come to find the prepackaged variety to be incredibly versatile, standing in for bread and dough in many dishes. This seems especially true of some of my favorite summertime meals, so I thought I'd share a few to help inspire still more.
My panini press gets great use in the summer months as it doesn't warm my kitchen the way the oven or even the stovetop does. Beyond that, paninis are great al fresco dining options, whether you're enjoying them in the backyard or taking the show on the road for a picnic. And, because naan is fairly flat to begin with, a panini made with it showcases the fillings while giving the diner a crisp outer crust that tastes great and tends to withstand sogginess that can plague some pressed sandwiches.
Longtime readers of this blog know that I love flatbread pizza. Naan is a fantastic base for them too! Each one makes a perfect personal-sized pizza and, while you can certainly heat the oven to make them, I adore using the grill for these. Why not make it an event and get a bunch of pieces of naan and invite your friends over for an impromptu party? Simply ask your friends to join you with their favorite toppings and some cold beer. Can it be Friday?