Welcome back, everyone, to another weekend recipe post. With
finally uploaded earlier this week and a new batch of goodies from them recently added to my collection, today seems like the perfect time to talk about how I use their 7-pot sauce.
Solaris is a tangy yellow pepper sauce that only really comes into its own on hot food – Preferably meat, fish or cheese – where its equally tangy, fruity, scorpion-like pepper and honeyed mustard notes become a lot more apparent.
I played around with it a tonne when I wrote but nothing ever seemed to outshine the simple blend of melted cheese and either ham or tuna in a panini. The mustard with the meat, the tang against the cheese and the fruity chilli and yellow pepper notes to pair the two together. What could possibly be better?
Well, I set out to find out and came to the conclusion that there was one solitary answer: The same thing with added basil. Perhaps not the revelation that I was looking for but a great find, all the same.
So, today, we’re going to make my homemade ham, cheese and basil panini with Solaris sauce. A real lunchtime favourite of mine.
Yet, before we get into it, there’s something that I want to discuss: My choice of cheese.
Looking online after formulating my recipe, I discovered that there were two trains of thought there. One faction wanted the utmost ooziness of a proper italian mozzarella, while the other sought the full on flavour of the strongest british cheddar.
Me, though? I naturally fell into both groups, using smoked applewood to bring out the best in my meat and mozzarella to carry that flavour far and wide. I saw no reason to pick a side when both had merits and the two cheeses worked rather nicely in combination.
So, here’s what I wound up using:
1 panini bread roll
½ a mozzarella ball (about 65g)
3 slices of packaged ham (roughly 40g)
2 slices of smoked applewood cheese (more or less 50g)
2 large basil leaves (ideally fresh)
Black or long pepper to taste
Plus, if you don’t have a panini press – And I’m going to assume that you don’t because I know that I don’t – you’ll need some butter to fry in, too.
But first, slice your roll in half lengthways and layer in the ingredients, slicing up the mozzarella to fit and shredding over the applewood and basil like so:
Drizzle over some Solaris, grind over any desired peppercorns and pop on the top and you’ll be ready to get cooking.
For today’s recipe, though, we’re going to need two pans. One greased with butter and the other able to fit inside it to press down on your sandwich and ensure that it cooks through.
Take the greased pan and add to it your assembled panini. Place it over a medium flame and allow it to warm up slowly, until the butter starts to sizzle. All the while keeping the pressure on from above.
From there, allow three minutes for the bottom to brown up and the heat to reach through and start melting the cheese, before carefully flipping it with a spatula or two.
Since you’ll be cooking for another couple of minutes on this side, the cheese doesn’t have to be fully melted when you flip it but at least a little ooze is what you want. And you’ll find that, to get it melty enough, the bread will be quite dark by the time that your done:
It’s practically unavoidable, without a panini press, but browned isn’t blackened and it’s still a thoroughly tasty, smoky, creamy, peppery, meaty, cheesy, tangy and fresh herb-dotted piece of gooey goodness, guaranteed to satisfy in the end.
All with a hot yet manageable, high
that is, honestly, a lot less than I was expecting from such a hot sauce. The sheer bulk of bread and dairy must really be balancing it out, as I rated the original product a whopping seven point five.
So, if you need a sensible way to use this tangy, yellow pepper and mustard favourite, look no further than this. It really works!