Chicken Pesto Panini

May 17, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Ericka Martins.
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 6 sandwiches
Author Notes

Few foods are more comforting than a warm, melty pressed sandwich. When I first met my husband, he would make me these ham and cheese toaster sandwiches. It was one of the first things he ever cooked for me and he truly won my heart with those sweet little toasties. To this day, I’m still chasing those flavors and cozy feelings whenever I make a sandwich.

This chicken pesto panini, made with flavorful Boar’s Head FireSmith™ Flame Grilled Chicken Breast, is the sandwich equivalent of a warm hug. Pressing the sandwich before griddling ensures the flavors all mix together, and the sandwich stays tight and compact when cooking. You can use the excess olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to dress up the arugula a little, if you feel so inclined. Bursting with flavor, the classic pairings of salty, creamy mozzarella, herbaceous pesto, peppery arugula, and punchy sun-dried tomatoes are complemented by the savory, smoky Flame Grilled Chicken Breast. Sandwiched between two fluffy pieces of focaccia and griddled to golden-brown, crunchy perfection, this is a wonderfully warm and comforting sandwich to make for someone you love. —Jessica Faith Meter

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Boar’s Head —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 12 slices Boar’s Head FireSmith™ Flame Grilled Chicken Breast
  • 6 tablespoons pesto (store-bought is fine)
  • 12 ounces mozzarella, sliced
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups arugula, washed
  • 1 loaf of focaccia, about 9x13 inches
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Oil, as needed for pan
  1. Slice focaccia in half crosswise and cut into 6 sandwich-sized pieces.
  2. Spread pesto on both sides of the focaccia.
  3. On the bottom slice of focaccia, layer the Boars Head Flame Grilled Chicken breast. Top with about ½ cup arugula, 2 sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 slices of mozzarella per sandwich. Season the mozzarella with salt and pepper to taste. Top with another slice of focaccia. Repeat until you have 6 assembled sandwiches.
  4. If you have time, place the sandwiches on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Top with another piece of parchment and a second sheet tray. Weigh down the tray with something heavy—a cast-iron pan or several large books should do the trick. Allow the panini to press for 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  5. Heat a griddle, cast-iron skillet, or large frying pan over medium heat. Coat with oil (about 1 tablespoon) and place the sandwiches in the pan, two at a time depending on the size of your pan, pressing down with a sandwich press. (If you don’t have a sandwich press, you can use a cast iron-pan as a weight.)
  6. Cook the paninis on medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side to crisp both sides of focaccia, 3 to 5 minutes more. The sandwich is ready when the mozzarella is melted and the bread is golden brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. Cut in half and eat immediately.

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