I never knew how much I liked deli sandwiches until I became pregnant and couldn’t eat them for 9 months.*
Yes, for 9 long months I ordered a veggie sandwich or salad for lunch until one afternoon when I was 1,000 weeks pregnant (or what felt like it, anyway!) I found myself sitting across from Ben at one of our favorite delis on town, Palmer’s Deli. While I stabbed away at my umpteenth salad in as many months, he was molars deep in a mammoth-sized turkey, ham, and bacon sandwich, and it all got to be too much. On a whim, I reached over and snatched the sandwich from his hands then sunk my teeth into what tasted like THE best sandwich I’d ever had.
Like a drink of cold water in the scorching Sahara desert, the taste of turkey and ham was sweet salvation for my deli meat-deprived taste buds!
That is to say, I’m so very glad deli meat is back on the table because I’ve been eating it like crazy for lunch lately, including in this Apple Orchard Panini!
Apple Orchard Panini is actually inspired by another trip I recently made to Palmer’s Deli. Roasted turkey, tart Granny Smith apple slices, creamy brie cheese, and sweet and cinnamony apple butter are layered between two slices of crusty Italian bread then pressed until golden brown and audibly crunchy. You guys. I had this panini for lunch at Palmer’s earlier this week, and have made it two more times since then at home. It is ridiculous!
The apple butter in here drives me wild. It reminds me of the cinnamon-sugar toast I used to make myself as a snack when I was a kid, and when mixed with the drippy brie and roasted turkey, it’s just heaven. The crunchy apple slices in here really bring the apple orchard theme home.
This panini is perfect for fall, and fast but special, know what I mean?
Start by heating up your panini press to medium-high. I’ve had this Griddler > for several years, and just love it. If you don’t have a panini press you can cook the sandwich in a skillet on the stove top grilled cheese-style. I’ve heard that a George Foreman works well for panini making, too!
Next lay out a couple slices of Italian bread. Palmer’s uses ciabatta buns cut in half, which would also work. Brush one side of the bread slices with extra virgin olive oil, then flip ‘em over and liberally spread apple butter on each slice too. Don’t be shy – really schmear it on there. It totally makes the sandwich.
Next layer on roasted turkey and brie cheese.
Palmer’s uses provolone slices, but brie is one of my favorite cheeses to pair with apples and tastes awesome in here. I got this enormous wedge from Trader Joe’s for just $2.50!
Next layer on thin slices of Granny Smith apple. I used GS because they’ve got a strong tart flavor that really shines through, but whatever you’ve got in the fridge is just fine!
Plop the lid on top…
Then press. RIGHT?!
Slice in half with a serrated knife then dig in!
Apple Orchard Panini
Italian bread or Ciabatta buns
Extra virgin olive oil
Roasted deli turkey
Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
Brie cheese, sliced
- Preheat panini maker to medium-high. Brush one side of 2 slices of bread with extra virgin olive oil. Turn slices over then spread apple butter generously on both slices. Layer on turkey, apple slices, and brie cheese then place other side of bread on top. Place in panini maker (alternatively, cook the sandwich in a skillet on the stovetop) until golden brown and crispy. Allow to rest for 2 minutes then slice with a serrated knife.
I am telling you – this panini is absolutely incredible. The brie and apple butter sizzle through the cracks in the bread and get nice and crusty-caramelized on the outside. The brie is to die for, too. Enjoy!
*Whether or not you eat deli meat while pregnant is completely up to you. I don’t care either way – to each her own!