Alright, so I’m gonna warn you right now. After you eat this sandwich, you will dream of having it again every single day.
It has the ideal combination of sweet from the chocolate, salty from the brie, and savoury from the basil and focaccia, and offers a perfectly balanced texture between melty cheese and crunchy bread.
I am just slightly obsessed with this sandwich.
Now I’m not ever one to plagiarize, so I must tell you that this recipe actually belongs to Giada de Laurentiis, a celebrity chef who has inspired my culinary life since I was just a tween. I would spend hours and hours watching Food Network Canada until I had seen every episode a dozen times, and had every celebrity chef tell me their *top tips*, such as that their secret ingredient is always nutmeg (I’m looking at you, Michael Smith). But no matter how cheesy or repetitive those shows could be, they really did influence me on a profound level – and if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a poor student without cable TV, I would definitely still watch them.
You can find the original recipe by Giada here – BUT if you want to kick it with the Curd Nerd 😉 you can read on to find out how to make this epic panini, including how to choose which brie to use.
Speaking of being a poor student, this recipe should traditionally be made on a panini press, but as I do not currently own one, I have made it on the stove, holding a pot lid down on the sandwich in order to give it that pressed effect. You could also make this on the grill to get those classic lines.
Also, apparently this recipe sounds weird to a lot of people. To me, it’s an obvious match – sweet and savoury. But for those of you who are skeptical, take my word for it. Or take my roommate/taste-tester’s word for it – and I quote – “This is life-changing.” And just FYI, chocolate and brie are pretty much always a great match. Often I will have some dark or semisweet chocolate on a cheese board to accompany the rich, salty cheese. It just adds an interesting contrast.
A note about the brie: in this recipe it’s okay to remove the rind if it bothers you. Because the brie is being combined with other ingredients, the nuances of the rind will be lost within the recipe anyway. But on a cheese board or when tasting brie on its own, I highly recommend at least trying the rind before discarding it, since it contains so much flavour! More information on how to taste cheese to come soon under Lessons.
Last note for this recipe: the amounts are estimates, and you can feel free to play around with the ratios to your liking.
Now you certainly don’t have to cut up this sandwich into bite sized pieces and serve it to three other people. If you’re like me and my roommate, you’ll make this recipe and each have a sandwich to yourself. Nothing wrong with that! But it is very rich, and it is somewhat more of a dessert than a meal, so I often serve it as a snack.
Please let me know your thoughts on this recipe below! It sounds strange to a lot of people at first, but I think I can turn anyone into a brie-liever with this panini.