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Getting a panini press was one of the best ideas I had in all of 2015. If you don’t have one of these kitchen tools I urge you to get one, it’s one of the best ever invented. Being able to transform any regular sandwich into a hot and delicious meal within minutes and with almost zero cleanup is close to magical and has revolutionized my lunches.
I have already stuffed just about anything I could think of between the two hot plates and one of my current favorites is this smoked salmon panini with lemon dill mayonnaise. Now this sandwich is a bit of a special case because it is delicate (you don’t want the mayo to be squirting out all over the place) and because it tastes best just warm but not hot. So what I do is I press it very lightly, just enough to grill the bread and warm the stuffing just a tad.
The star of this recipe is the lemon dill mayonnaise; it’s tangy, dilly and slightly peppery from the freshly cracked black pepper I mix in (the pepper is a very important component, don’t be tempted to skip it). The mayo complements the smoked salmon perfectly and really elevates the panini from good to great. If you don’t have a panini press you can make this recipe just as a sandwich of course but it’s definitely better pressed.
Food Photography and Styling: I generally don’t cluster all props together like I did here but I think in this case here it really worked because the glass, the pitcher and the sandwich were all of different height. Because the mayo is the real star of this recipe I put a bit of it in a cup and set it on the plate along with the sandwich. (The little mayo cup is from Wendy’s, I occasionally grab a few of them and take them with, you never know when they come in handy). As usual, I used my strobe to light the set.
Camera Settings: Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight.
Smoked Salmon Panini with Lemon Dill Mayonnaise Recipe
For the lemon dill mayonnaise:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the panini:
- 4 slices multigrain bread
- lettuce leaves
- 4 ounces smoked salmon
- sliced red onion (optional)
For the mayonnaise:
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
For the panini:
- Layer one slice of bread, one lettuce leaf, salmon, lemon dill mayonnaise, red onion (if using) and another slice of bread on top of each other and very lightly press in a hot panini press.