Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oprah's "Love Sandwich" (Turkey & Cheese Panini)

Busy, busy, busy. 2011 has started out with a flurry of activity and has left not a lot of time for blogging. Sorry about that. I'll do better. Next week. :)

Some good friends came over for dinner and I wanted to give my new Cuisinart Griddler (a Christmas gift from my hubby) a try. We had used it to make grilled cheese last week but without having sturdy bread, it didn't go so well. This time, I came armed with a recipe and read the instruction manual. (Does anyone else hate reading instructions? I save it for after I have already failed.)

I remembered seeing Oprah boast about this sandwich she makes for her longtime love using a Panini maker. She called it her "Love Sandwich". It's pretty much a turkey and cheese on sourdough with mayo and basil. Easy enough. So I set to work...

Lightly olive oil some sourdough bread. The first time I made these sandwiches, I used a silicone basting brush. The second time, I remembered I had a Misto that would do this for me with the push of a button. If you have a Misto, this is a great time to use it. If not, you can easily just brush some olive oil on.

I placed the olive-oiled sides facing each other. This kept my board oil free (although it really could use some oil... Hmm...), and allowed me to start topping the bread. Add a thin layer of mayonnaise to the bread. While I usually do not add mayo to my sandwiches, I did this time and I'm glad I did. It definitely helped keep the sandwich moist. The recipe instructs to mayonnaise both sides of the bread, but just one side tasted just fine to me.

Next up, pepper jack cheese. The deli made some huge slices, so we just halved them.

Place the pepper jack on the mayonnaised slice of bread, top it with turkey and some fresh basil, then the other half (or another slice) of pepper jack. In all honesty, I wasn't sure about the basil at first and considered leaving it out, but it turns out that the basil really makes the sandwich. It imparts a very nice freshness and almost peppery flavor that it would be sorely lacking without it. I used two leaves the first time I made it, and decided I liked it so much that I wanted more this time. You can start out with two leaves.

Toss it in a preheated panini maker. Don't have a panini maker? No worries. Throw it in a skillet, and put another heavy skillet on top. Flip it over to toast the other side, and you have pretty much the exact same sandwich. We're an equal opportunity cooking blog.

The benefit of the panini maker is no need to flip and pretty lines. 

 Mmmm.... melted cheesy goodness.
The verdict: All in all, a tasty sandwich. I enjoyed the creaminess of the jack cheese, and the basil really does make this sandwich something special. I do, however, believe a nice pesto would make this sandwich as good, but probably even better. 

Oprah's Love Sandwich
Serves: 1
  • 2 slices sourdough sandwich bread
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced turkey
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced pepper jack cheese
  • 2 basil leaves
Preheat an electric panini press to medium-high heat according to the manufacturer's instructions. If using a skillet, preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.

Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface and brush the tops of each slice with 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise. Place 1 1/2 oz. turkey and 1 oz. cheese and basil leaves on one of the slices of bread. Top the remaining turkey and cheese onto the other slice of bread.

Place the sandwich on the preheated panini press and cook according to the manufacturers instructions until crispy and dark golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. If making the sandwich on the stove top, place the sandwich in the pan and place a heavy pan on top of the sandwich to gently put weight on it. Once crispy and golden, flip and repeat with the other side.

Transfer the sandwich onto a cutting board.



  1. Pretty awesome. Not as awesome as our sandwiches with the pesto though.

  2. Love the picks and creamy pepperjack cheese. When are you making me some?