A twist on grilled cheese

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It starts with two slices of bread and some cheese. But a little creativity and local ingredients turn your simple grilled cheese sandwich into something beyond good – a panino (make a few and you’ll have panini!).  There are lots of easy ways to change it up. Start with cheese, like extra-sharp cheddar, taleggio, robiola, gruyere, or a local cheese.  Then add slice of prosciutto or speck, or, add a few slices of fruit. Apple and pear are always good, but try whatever happens to be in season. One of my favorites is freshly sliced peaches in the summer – they add a big burst of flavor. Finish with arugula or farm grown greens, and maybe a little fig jam. Ciabatta, sliced horizontally, keeps the focus on your ingredients, but honey oatmeal, sourdough, and grain breads will add extra flavor.  The best panini have only a few great flavors that meld together. Use a sandwich press, or grill your panino in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, using a grill press.IMG_7103 IMG_7111 IMG_7282 IMG_7292good combinations: -apple, cheddar, and honey mustard ~ pear, taleggio, arugula, fig jam ~ avocado, cheddar, tomato ~ pear, proscuitto, robiola, fig jam ~ artichoke, fontina, parsley, olive oil ~ artichoke, fontina, olives, basil ~ red pepper, mozzarella, pesto ~ roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, fontina, basil ~ pear, sharp provolone, greens ~ prosciutto, sharp provolone, greens

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