Summer is about to be a distant memory until next year. Signs of fall have been popping up all around us–crickets replacing the cicadas, goldenrod starting to bloom, monarchs migrating through to Mexico, and cool evening breezes replacing summer humidity. Bring it on! I agree with Anne Shirley, “I’m so glad we live in a world with Octobers.” I am dreaming of cool autumn days hiking somewhere admiring the changing leaves. And, of course, fall flavors! Today we’ll show you one of our new favorite fall sandwiches, our Apple Brie Panini with caramelized onions. So good!
One of my favorite things about fall are the apples. If you’ve read about our apple crisp or our homemade applesauce , you know that we have a strong family connection to apples. Several years ago during an outing of apple picking, we stopped in for lunch at a restaurant along the way. One of the seasonal lunch specials was a panini with apple, cheese, and caramelized onions. I don’t remember much about it other than those being the three main ingredients and that it was amazing! We had already discovered that apple and brie pair together perfectly after making our apple brie crostini. The addition of sweet caramelized onions is perfect. We bring all three ingredients together in our Apple Brie Panini sandwich and the result is magical.
The key to making caramelized onions is patience. They take time. I like to turn the temperature down after 10 minutes or so and to leave them alone for 5 minutes at a time. It takes easily 40 minutes to get them to really turn that caramelly brown color, but it’s totally worth the wait. When I use one really large sweet onion it makes enough for 4 sandwiches. Alternatively, you could make two sandwiches and save enough for these amazing hamburgers or this caramelized onion, bacon, and spinach pizza. Yes, please! Once done making the onions, I then use the same pan to cook the panini which results in nice crispy bread which carries some of the same caramelized onion flavor. Yum! If patience isn’t your strong suit, remember you could do these in a large batch and then just pull them out all week when assembling your flavor masterpiece.
I think we’ve mentioned before that meal planning has become a key part of our weeks. Now that fall is almost here, we may shift to a soup and sandwich (or salad) night. I think this Apple Brie Panini is amazing all on its own, but it would also pair well with a veggie soup or tasty salad. And it fits in with our plan of figuring out ways to not make completely separate meals for our kids, but giving them a little bit of choice in what they are eating. Try it out and I hope your family loves it as much as we do!
I don’t have a panini maker, panini press, or pan. I love the way it looks with the marks on sandwiches. However, I have soooooo many pans and gadgets and special tools, that I just used a regular pan and used a smaller pan with a large can of tomatoes in it to smoosh down the sandwich (yes, that’s a technical cooking term–smoosh).
As for picking what apple to use, I do think for this something like honey crisp would be perfect. I like this guide by the Huffington Post about how to use what type of apple. I grew up in upstate NY, so the types available were different than some of the kinds available where I live now. Which is why I always visit in early October to stock up on NY apples (or PA). Is it time yet?
On to the Apple Brie Panini recipe:
- Sliced sourdough bread
- 1/2 honey crisp apple cut into thin slices
- 1/2 c . caramelized onions
- 1/4 lb . brie cheese , sliced
For the caramelized onions:
- Chop one large sweet onion in strips.
- Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a non stick pan.
- Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Cook for 30-40 more minutes on low heat, stirring every 4-5 minutes.
Assembly and Final Prep
- Layer onions, apple, and brie on bread.
- Heat pan and add a small amount of butter or oil.
- Once hot, place sandwiches in pan and cook for 3-5 minutes per side.
- Cut and serve.
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