Caprese Paninis–Tomato and Cheese–No press needed

In attempt to find new ways to use my tomatoes that I am afraid to say are not looking good with all this excessive heat. And with all this heat outside,  I looked for a recipe that would not use an oven. I had all the ingredients for a traditional Caprese salad but I think my family might be getting a little bored. Here is a pic of all the different varieties of tomatoes I have in my garden. I know I will miss them when fall arrives. Feel free to add grape or cut up cherry Tomatoes too.

I found a panini recipe and was worried about the not having a panini press. The recipe was in a Barefoot Contessa book, surprise there, and she suggested using a grill pan and a plate. I also already had some pesto in the freezer but whipped up some more as it does not require any heat!!

I laid out all my sandwiches on a cookie sheet an hour or so before lunch and placed another cookie sheet ontop and placed in the fridge.

When I took them out they were not tried out or soggy. I was a little worried about the tomatoes being too juicy.

I buttered them and started grilling.

My first batch I used the recommended plate technique. My plate was the right size but boy did it get hot. Remove carefully.

For the second batch I filled my tea pot with water and placed that on top. Outside of the bottom getting a little buttery, this worked out great. No heat and added more weight with the water…..I might be on to something. Just be sure to wipe the bottom off before you store it!!

I was a little worried about serving this to my husband for dinner but he really enjoyed them. I think a red tomato would be more appealing to the eye but they tasted amazing. Even my kids ate them, well at least 2 of the 3. My youngest I simply used cheddar cheese. Remember he is my fussiest eater.

Caprese Panini

adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa at Home

makes 6 sandwiches


  • 2 large ripe  tomatoes
  • 1 (16-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella
  • 12 slices bakery white or italian bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • about 1 cup pesto
  • kosher salt
  • softened butter

Preheat grill.

Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and slice the tomatoes and

 mozzarella 1/4-inch thick. Spread the bread slices out on a work surface.
  Pour pesto into a small bowl, and using a pastry brush, brush each bread slice 
with the oil. Flip the slices over, and spread each slice evenly with pesto.
On half the bread, place a layer of mozzarella (about 2 slices per sandwich), followed by a layer of tomato. Sprinkle the tomatoes with kosher salt.

Oil the grates of the grill pan, and working 2 sandwiches at a time, lay all the 
sandwiches on the grill, cover with plate or tea pot..
After 2-3 minutes, you should have grill marks,

Grill an additional 1-3 minutes, or until the mozarella starts to ooze.

Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half, and serve warm.




I have this Le Creuset Grill Pan but you can find more 
inexpensive was at TJMax or Marshalls.

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1 Comment

  1. This looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing!

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