Grilled Fontina and Vegetable Antipasti

Choosing this recipe for a weeknight meal came more from the awesome bread I had from the farmers' market than it did from its ease and simplicity.  We bought a loaf of Farm Bread from our favorite baker at the market: Rock Hill Bakehouse; it's dense and jam-packed full of flavor but the downside?  It goes bad.  And fast.  So I try to incorporate it into my meals as much as I can before the mold moves in.

Looking through my saved magazine recipes, I found this one from Food and Wine: Grilled Fontina and Vegetable Antipasti.  The online recipe has all the measurements (the original print version I have doesn't have any amounts or measurements) but the beauty of this recipe is that it's perfect for improvisation, especially if you're nervous about improvising.  Here's how mine turned out:

adapted from Food and Wine

8 1/2-inch thick slices of peasant bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. sliced Fontina cheese
1/2 c. (4 oz.) roasted red peppers, sliced thin
1/2 c. (4 oz.) marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
3 pickled jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
1 stalk green garlic, sliced thin (optional)
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Brush the bread on one side with olive oil and arrange, oiled side down, on a work surface.  Top half the slices with Fontina, peppers, artichokes, and jalapenos.  Close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet, panini press, or grill (I have a stovetop castiron grill).  Grill the sandwiches over medium heat  until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Use a panini press - or a spatula - to put pressure on the sandwiches; this helps the cheese melt and melds the flavors together.  Flip the sandwiches to toast the other side.  Take off the grill, halve the sandwiches, and serve right away.  Serves 4.

You can treat these ingredients as guidelines rather than rules; it really is all to taste.  I added fresh ground pepper.  And I also had some fresh green garlic (not the usual dried kind) from the farmers' market so I sliced that super thin and added that as well.  I'm not a fan of olives but maybe some olives might be good too?  If you like more heat, you can add more jalapenos.  It's all up to you.  Fun, right?

I'm on the bacon bandwagon and I love myself a chunk of rare steak.  But I do try to keep it to a minimum and, more often than not, we eat vegetarian meals around here.  This one is packed with flavor, and the variations are endless.  Lastly, I can easily deconstruct it for Bug: she just had cheese on hers (a.k.a. a grilled cheese sandwich).

Eat, drink, and don't skimp on flavor just because it's a weeknight.

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