Egg, Caramelized Onion, and Cacio Panini

by Liz on June 24, 2010

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A few months ago, hungry and alone on a Sunday morning, my goal was to get in the car and find a nice place to have some brunch. However, in Chapel Hill, Sunday brunch is certainly not an original idea, and it can get quite hectic trying to find a place that has good food with less than a 30-minute wait, let alone a decent parking spot.  Still, I wanted a good breakfast, and I posted an update on Facebook something to the effect, “Hey, does anybody know a good place with parking where I can get brunch?”  A friend of mine simply replied, “your house.” Point taken.

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Then, I remembered this recipe I had made awhile back from a great little panini cookbook called Simple Italian Sandwiches.  It would make me feel like I had eaten something special, without the hassle of driving around town trying to figure out where to go.  Also, I certainly cannot be alone in this when I say that brunch can often be disappointing.  You wait so long just to sit down, and I don’t know about you, but most times while I’m eating, I think to myself, “hmm, I could have made this myself at home and saved a lot of money!”  This is my new breakfast/brunch go-to, although it tastes great any time of day, any day of the week.

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Egg, Caramelized Onion, and Cacio Panini

Adapted from Simple Italian Sandwiches by Jennifer and Jason Denton with Kathryn Kellinger.

The main thing I changed about the recipe was the onions.  The original calls for roasting a baking sheet full of onions according to a different recipe for “sweet onions” in the book.  While I did that the first time I made these sandwiches, it was way too much for us to use, and I feel the same idea of the panini works just fine with caramelized onions, which you can make as much as you want, and doesn’t take as long as their onion recipe. Also, instead of buying individual ciabatta rolls (which you can certainly do), I bought a loaf of ciabatta, and cut it into four pieces. Finally, I do not have a panini grill, but I do have a George Foreman grill, which works just fine for this.  It would also be fine to just make it in a pan like grilled cheese.

Serves 4

1 large ciabatta loaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup caramelized onions
4 ounces grated Cacio di Roma cheese (or any other mild creamy sheep’s milk cheese. The book suggests Pecorino Romano as a substitute, but I think it would be a little bit too salty for me.)

Preheat your panini grill/George Foreman grill/pan.  Cut ciabatta into four similarly sized pieces, and cut the top 1/2 inch or so of each piece.  The rolls should be about 1 inch thick with a crusty bottom and exposed bread top.  Split the pieces horizontally. Over a medium flame, heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet.  Add the salt and pepper to the eggs, and beat them lightly (I like to add just a little drop of milk or cream to the eggs), then pour in skillet.  Use a rubber spatula to move the eggs, starting at the edge of the pan and moving toward the center until the eggs are softly scrambled. (Almost undercook them since they’ll cook a little more when the panini is bring grilled.)  Spread each half of the ciabatta pieces with a thin layer of caramelized onions.  Divide the scrambled eggs among the 4 bottom halves of the ciabatta and top with the grated Cacio di Roma.  Put on the top pieces of ciabatta, and grill the panini for 3 minutes until the cheese sets and the bread is golden.  Serve immediately.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz July 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Carolyn: see the first post I ever posted here.

carolyn July 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm

how do you caramelize onions? :-/

carolyn July 6, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Liz- ha, no way. TJ’s betta be proud.

Liz July 2, 2010 at 12:03 am

Carolyn, you totally should. It’s really easy, and this will let the secret out but I totally used Trader Joe’s ciabatta bread. Please don’t judge me.

carolyn July 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm

okay as soon as I get back to my apartment in Chapel Hill, I am trying this one out…

Kelly K June 25, 2010 at 5:03 pm

So, I totally tried a version of this today, inspired by your blog! I didn’t have ciabatta, so I just used whole wheat english muffins. And I didn’t have fancy cheese, so I used a slice of provolone. And it was yummy! In fact, I’m hungry now and wish I had another one. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Liz June 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I think this could happen Sunday morning, yes.

jenni June 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Oh dear god, yes. We’re having this for brunch this weekend, right? ;) I really need to get a panini press.

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