Panino with marinated eggplant, finocchiona & stracchino cheese

Panino with marinated eggplant, finocchiona & stracchino cheese

Panino con finocchiona, melanzane e stracchino

By
From
Florentine
Serves
1
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This combination is inspired by my panino of choice at All’Antico Vinaio, a popular wine and panino bar in the shadow of the Palazzo Vecchio that attracts all types looking for a freshly made, cheap lunch. It’s a mostly standing-room-only affair with patrons inevitably spilling out into the street, panino in hand, and a long queue at the height of lunch hour.

Finocchiona is a typical Tuscan cured meat – a large, round, pink salume often embedded with whole black peppercorns and that very Tuscan flavouring of wild fennel seeds. Soft and gooey stracchino cheese is ideal here, as it is creamy and delicately flavoured and does not overpower the other ingredients.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Grilled eggplant

Quantity Ingredient
1 medium eggplant, sliced 5 mm thick
salt
1 small red bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 dried bay leaf
extra-virgin olive oil, to cover

For each panino

Quantity Ingredient
1 square * tuscan focaccia [rid:32259]
80g stracchino cheese, (or other good melting cheese)
40g finocchiona, sliced, (see note)
2-3 slices grilled eggplant

Method

  1. Generously salt the eggplant slices to help draw out their moisture. Leave for at least 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cold water, drain and carefully pat them dry.
  2. Cook the eggplant on a grill pan over medium heat. Cook until both sides are tender and browned. Place in a container with the chilli, garlic and bay leaf and cover with olive oil. This keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  3. To prepare the panino, slice open the schiacciata or focaccia. Spread the stracchino on one side, layer with a few slices of finocchiona and 2–3 slices of eggplant. Serve as is or, if you prefer, warm it under a grill or a sandwich press before serving.

Note

  • If you can’t get finocchiona, you can substitute it with mortadella or some other salume – freshly sliced prosciutto is also very good. Stracchino cheese can be difficult to find outside Italy, but fresh mozzarella also makes a good substitute here.
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