I’ve always been a big fan of using chicken liver, hearts and gizzards in cooking. I like their unembellished appearance and enduring humbleness, and I am in love with what they represent to me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: I grew up in a time when every bit of meat was much appreciated, and getting hold of a small pack of chicken liver was a reason for celebration. I remember my mom and my aunt chopping them finely and using them to make a “diluted” meat dish, made up of a small amount of meat, a whole lot of bread, some water to bind it all together, and very few spices. I grew up with the idea that chicken liver was an expensive delicacy, and that you could only eat it on special occasions.
I made this panino a couple of days ago because I wanted to use up a can of tuna from my pantry. It was also yet another way to make use of my beloved peppadew peppers. (I wrote a bit about peppadew peppers here) Most of the other ingredients were readily available as well. The only ingredient I had to buy was a bunch of parsley, which was a welcome addition because it brought freshness and extra flavor to the panino.
Doesn’t this look wonderful? I made this dish the other day, in anticipation of the freezing cold weather which was due to hit Chicagoland. I was bracing myself for the worst weather I’d ever experienced since moving to the Windy City, and I wanted something hot and comforting, like a gift to myself and my body. I remembered I had this recipe in my binder and went to the grocery store to buy zucchini. I felt at ease with the recipe and I liked its ingredients. The end result was satisfying and provided the comfort and warmth I so much needed.
In my experience, eating dinner is the last thing you want to do when you get home late, on a freezing cold night. You just want to shower and cuddle up under the blanket, hoping that spring would be upon you soon (if only this were true!). Still, on this cold Chicago weather, what can be more enticing than a hot panino, oozing cheesy goodness, nutritious, and quick to prepare? I think panini are the perfect quick comfort food: You can make a healthy meal out of only a few ingredients in very little time. A fresh panino and a hot cup of cocoa – that’s my new idea of dinner bliss.