Grilled sandwiches aren’t anything new; they’ve been around as long as I can remember. The elusive trick is getting the outside toasted or golden brown, as I like it, and the inside just the right temperature. It’s also nice if you can cook a whole meal in one fell swoop if need be.
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We are all familiar with the fascination of the George Foreman Grille, a love affair not lost on George himself, topping over 100 million units paying heads and hands more than a sock on Georges jaw. I remember using grilles much like George’s as a kid; we made grilled cheese on them, quickly, easily! Today, the grilled cheese has evolved into a grown up sandwich with exotic breads, and fillers including chicken, beef, fish, pork, turkey and…well, you get the idea. The old grilled cheese sandwich has gotten a new moniker, a Panini made famous worldwide by eateries that bear its name, serving endless tasty Panini recipes to the masses.
Okay, I relented and bought one. I hesitated as I knew it would take up space and the wife, God love her, is a stickler for appliances that go un-used, especially ones that I bring home. I had to have a plan knowing full well that it would have to include the execution of some darned good meals that would justify the new addition. Armed with a recipe book I brought home the Cuisinart GR4N, a beast of a Panini maker that I purchased on sale for just under $70.00!
At first glance the brushed stainless steel Cuisinart GR4N looks much like the griddles sandwich of old, only bigger, capable of 6 sandwiches simultaneously. The removable non-stick grille plates serve as contact grill, Panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle, making it a versatile enough appliance to cook a variety of foods aside from just a Panini. The removable grill plates are dishwasher safe, though they clean easily with a damp cloth. Three controls, Griddle temp, selector for Griddle or Panini, and Grill Panini temperature control along with a floating hinge to accommodate the fattest of sandwiches, sausages, steak, pork chops and a host of other foods makes life a bit easy to negotiate around the GR4N. A removable drip tray captures all the oils for easy cleanup.
Underway, you set your desired function, be it Panini, Griddle or grill and choose the appropriate surface and temperatures settings then wait for preheating, which will be prompted by a red/green LED.
My first outing was a Mushroom Brie Prosciutto Panini, a favorite of mine. I lightly brushed a little melted butter overtop the Focaccia bread before closing the grill press, set at 375°F and timed it for 8 minutes. When I opened the Cuisinart GR4N, perfection; you couldn’t ask for a better sandwich! I have incorporated roasted peppers, cooked spinach, olives capers, onions, tomatoes, basil, and a variety of cheeses into sandwiches since. The bottom line here is your imagination would be the only thing that could limit you when it comes to Panini’s. Then of course if you just want a grilled sandwich, or 6, the Cuisinart GR4N accommodates you nicely.
If you like a hot sandwich, the Cuisinart GR4N may just have offered a worthy alternative to the host of Panini grilles on the market today!
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Amount Paid (US$): 70.00