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Breville Stainless Steel Panini Press

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Breville Panini Press - VST109
Grilling chicken in a panini press, nearly done
Grilled lamb kebabs served with potatoes in sour cream and vegetables
Grilling salmon in a panini press - not recommended, see text

Well, it seems as though I'm back in the 80's again! My last sandwich toaster was thrown out with the fondue set; however, The Delia effect has got the better of me. Reading Jamie's Dinners recently, there was an article on sandwich toasters. Two days and £25 later, I have another kitchen gadget. Unlike sandwich toasters of old, instead of the scalloped cutters, it has two completely flat hotplates. The top plate floats which allows for different sandwich thickness's.

Grilling meat

Fillet steaks: Preheat the panini press, spray or brush the fillet steaks with a little olive oil. Place in the press, close and leave for 3 to 4 minutes. For steaks that are about 2.5 cm (1") thick, this will result in medium/rare steaks that are nicely caramelised. The cooking time will need to be extended for thicker steaks.

Chicken breasts: Preheat the panini press, spray or brush the chicken breasts with a little olive oil. Place in the press, close and leave for 11 minutes. Cut with a knife to check that it's cooked properly. 11 minutes was perfect for 2 small/medium sized chicken breasts.

Lamb kebabs: Preheat the panini press, spray or brush the kebabs with a little olive oil. Place in the press, close and leave for 6 to 8 minutes, turning now and then.

Unevenly shaped meat

Because the majority of the heat transfer is made by physical contact, any food item that is not reasonably flat, such as a chicken drumstick unlikely to be cooked evenly or properly.

Grilling fish

Salmon: Preheat the panini press, brush a little olive oil on both surfaces and grill for 3 to 5 minutes depending upon the thickness of the salmon steaks. Switch off the power, lift the lid and leave to rest for 7 minutes.

Although this cooks salmon perfectly, it taints the panini press with a fishy flavour for the next 3 or 4 uses, despite being thoroughly cleaned. I would avoid using it for fish unless that is all you are ever going to cook on it!

Camping and caravans

Another brilliant use for this has been when camping or in the camper van. It cooks meat, makes toasted sandwiches and also makes normal toast, it takes up very little space and is really easy to clean. Consider taking one along with you on your next trip.


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