Kensington's 4th birthday this fall was a French Bistro theme...I didn't think I could serve French Onion Soup at a 4 year olds' birthday, so I served French Onion Paninis. And they were tres magnifique! J'adore paninis oignon francais. (There's 6 years of French plus a college minor right there baby!) I made my paninis slider size and used little whole wheat dinner rolls, but you can totally use whatever kind of bread you love (or have on hand). Pay special attention to the quality of ham you buy...I love my Boar's Head...the ham can make or break the panini.
2 onions, chopped
8 Dinner Rolls
1 pound shaved ham (I use Boar's Head Sun dried Tomato and Rosemary)
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Salt and Pepper
In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, saute onions in a few tablespoons of EVOO with a pinch of S&P for about 20 minutes (you want them good and caramelized...like in French Onion Soup). Low heat for a longer period of time creates the best caramelization.
Meanwhile, preheat your panini press, griddle or another large skillet to medium-high heat. Assemble your paninis by placing sauteed onions, a few pieces of ham and Gruyere cheese inside a dinner roll. Press your sandwich under the panini press until nice and golden (about 4 minutes) or place it on a griddle or saute pan and press another skillet (something heavy) on top of it. Flip your panini after 3 or 4 minutes and repeat on the other side.
**So if you're using the panini press, you don't have to flip the sandwich but if you're using a griddle or skillet, you need to flip it and press down on the opposite side.
Serve sandwiches immediately while gooey and warm.
I think I prefer the cheesy sandwich to the actual soup. The perfect sandwich for a little girl's party or for your next supper.