Italian Focaccia Panini (Picnic Food!)

Italian Focaccia Panini - the perfect picnic sandwich

One more week of school. One more week of school. One more week of school! I think I’m just as excited as Max that school is almost out for the summer. June is always a busy month for us. School is coming to a close, we’ve got lot’s of responsibilities to wrap up, teachers gifts to make, two birthdays to plan and celebrate, and Father’s Day to not forget. While all of these things are generally FUN! they all fall within the same two weeks and my brain starts to feel a little scattered. Isn’t that how it always is when you’re reaching the end of something? Oh well, it just makes it that much sweeter when the goal is reached!

On the upside, the weather has been gorgeous! So, I’ve tried my best to take some time out to play with the kids in the kiddie pool, hang out at the park in the evenings before bed, and go on as many picnics as we can even if they’re only in our own backyard. It helps to reset my brain and clear the cobwebs so I can stay focussed on the next project. On one of such picnics I made a panini with some focaccia bread we had on hand. My idea was to make it all ahead and set aside a portion for James to heat up at work. It was a picnic/lunch box planning brainwave, but I didn’t expect us to love it quite so much and I’ve been craving it ever since!

Italian Focaccia Panini - the perfect picnic sandwich

I made it again this week and headed to the park with my kids and a dear friend. The thing I love about this sandwich, besides the fact that it tastes fantastic, is that it is so portable. Thanks to the hearty Focaccia, I can stuff all of our picnic items under my stroller and not worry about the sandwiches getting squished. Although I suppose it also helps that they are already “squished” from the cooking process. ;)

Other reasons why this is perfect picnic fare? 1) They are just as delicious warm as they are at “room temperature” so you don’t need to eat them immediately after making. (Although if you do refrigerate them in between, as I did with my hubby’s lunch, you may want to give it a quick heat up as it won’t be quite the same cold from the fridge.) 2) They don’t get soggy (which means they can be made ahead)! I recently packed a different sandwich for a picnic and by the time we got to eating them they were pretty soggy – disappointing! That will not happen with this sandwich. 3) It serves four adults for a picnic lunch or dinner, or you can bring it to a potluck and slice it into smaller pieces to feed a crowd. 4) It’s so easy to throw together. If you plan something last minute you can just throw it in a pan and get it cooking while you prepare the rest of the grub. I generally have everything on hand already, save for the foccacia, but I will now be making sure I have some in the freezer so these can be whipped up at a moments notice all summer long!

I love the fresh flavours and hearty quality of this sandwich and I know it will be made a lot in the coming months. Yay summer! (…. one more week!)

Are you as obsessed with picnics as we are? What do you consider perfect picnic fare?

Italian Focaccia Panini - the perfect picnic sandwich

Italian Focaccia Panini
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 loaf focaccia with italian herbs (mine was a 284g loaf)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 of a bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices deli turkey
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  1. Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Slice foccacia in half. Top one half with 1/2 cup cheese, then bell pepper, deli turkey, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle with green onions and top with remaining foccacia half. Place in hot skillet. Grab another heavy skillet (cast iron is great!) and place it on top of the foccacia, pressing down to squeeze everything together. Cook for 5 minutes (with skillet still on top) or until bottom is golden brown and crisp. Remove skillet and flip foccacia. Place skillet back on top, pressing down firmly. Leave skillet on top while you cook for another 5 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from skillet and place on a cutting board to cool. If the cheese looks like it needs a little extra help to melt, wrap it up in what you plan to transport it in and the residual heat will help to make sure it melts while it cools.