Caesar Shrimp & Arugula Panini (+ Panini Express Cookbook Giveaway!)

I was doing a little holiday shopping in Williams-Sonoma last week and couldn’t help but take a looksie over at their panini-related offerings (got to keep up with what’s out there!). They were promoting a cookbook called Panini Express: 70 Delicious Recipes Hot Off the Press. I picked it up, and as I leafed through the gorgeously-photographed pages I knew I wanted to review this book and give away a copy on Panini Happy. [THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED]

Panini ExpressThe sandwiches presented in Panini Express are relatively simple in nature but they’re hardly basic. The emphasis is on high-quality ingredients, whether they are homemade (the book features recipes for five breads and fourteen homemade condiments) or store-bought. Similar to those in Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft, which I blogged about earlier this year, these are “artisan-type” sandwiches for those who enjoy savoring each flavor and texture – not as much for the school lunch set. That is, unless your school-ager has a penchant for Comté, Cooked Ham & Ratatouille or Duck Confit with Apricot Jam, Dijon Mustard and Shaved Fennel.

There is not a single sandwich in this book I wouldn’t love to sample, but the one I chose to make this week was the Caesar Shrimp & Arugula. The concept is essentially a shrimp Caesar salad in sandwich form. Shrimp is grilled on the panini press, tossed in a homemade Caesar dressing and grilled on ciabatta with arugula and shaved Parmesan. This is an example of what I meant by simple, but not basic – the panini were easy to prepare while the flavors were complex, well-balanced and wonderful. I wish I’d been able to take the time to bake my own ciabatta rolls – a recipe is included in the book – but I was more than satisfied with how these came out using store-bought bread. See the recipe below, following the giveaway details.

There are some truly special panini in this cookbook and whether you end up actually preparing all of them or just a select few you’ll at least find them to be mouth-watering and inspiring when it comes to your own panini-making at home.

How to Enter the Panini Express Cookbook Giveaway:

[THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED] Leave a comment on this post mentioning one food item you usually prefer to make from scratch (or, if you’re store-bought all the way, you can mention that too!). One person will be selected at random to receive my review copy of Panini Express.

One entry per person, please – the giveaway closes on Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:00 PM PST. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 22, 2009. My apologies to my international readers, I can only ship the book to U.S. addresses due to shipping costs.

Caesar Shrimp & Arugula Panini

Caesar Shrimp & Arugula Panini
From Panini Express: 70 Delicious Recipes Hot Off the Press

Serves 2


3/4 pound large shrimp (about 18), peeled and deveined
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, put through a garlic press
2 flat anchovies, mashed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ciabatta rolls
1 cup arugula, washed and dried
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler


Heat a panini or sandwich press according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them on the press, pull the top down, and grill until cooked through and pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the press and transfer to a bowl. Let cool slightly.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and mustard in a small bowl until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the shrimp and toss to coat.

Split each roll in half. Pull some of the crumbs out to make room for the fillings. Arrange the arugula on the bottom halves of the rolls. Arrange the shrimp on top of the arugula. Drizzle any dressing remaining in the bowl over the shrimp. Arrange the cheese on top of the shrimp. Top the sandwiches with the top halves of the rolls.

Put the sandwiches on the press, pull the top down, and cook until they are browned and crisp, 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how hot your machine is. Carefully remove from the press and serve immediately.


KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. sara wrote:

    I’m a big fan of homemade bread – I do sometimes buy it for convenience, but I love making it too! 🙂
    .-= sara´s last blog ..Green Salad with Marinated Cucumber and Red Onion =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  2. Teri wrote:

    NOM! I usually like to make my own Parmesan Pita crisps, but I will let Sabra make the hummus – the Greek Olive is my current favorite, but the others are also delicious…

    Must make that panini!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  3. Natashya wrote:

    What a great panini!
    Love the book too, I have it at home. 🙂
    .-= Natashya´s last blog ..Honey Oat Roasted Pears and Cornmeal Fig Focaccia =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  4. Debbie S. wrote:

    Hot chocolate mix. My kids cannot get through the winter without it.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  5. Brooke russell wrote:

    I always opt for homemade frosting.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  6. jordan wrote:

    i like to make my own pasta sauce – or “gravy” as its known in my family 🙂 – from scratch!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  7. Rebecca wrote:

    Homemade bread is a sandwich must.
    Also—I like to make hummus too!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  8. Vicki wrote:

    I can’t imagine storebought salad dressing (except for ranch).
    .-= Vicki´s last blog ..Non-Food Post – Let There Be Light! =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  9. kari wrote:

    i like to make my own granola!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  10. Julie wrote:

    I love to make homemade pesto instead of buying it. I also have a fantastic bread book (Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley). So far I’ve used store-bought bread for convenience, but I can’t wait to use some home-baked bread!
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Cinnamon Roll Cookies =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  11. Dani wrote:

    I love to make my grandma’s homemade wild rice soup. It goes great with a sandwich on a cold day!
    .-= Dani´s last blog ..Party and car rides =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  12. Mary wrote:

    Soup! Homemade beats canned any day!
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Bah Humbug/Merry Christmas! =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  13. Mindy wrote:

    One thing that I’ve been making from scratch all the time for the past year is chicken stock. It’s so much more flavorful than store-bought…and a great way to use up all of those about-to-expire veggies!
    .-= Mindy´s last blog ..An Update… =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  14. AmyLynn wrote:

    Pizza! The family’s become addicted to homemade – now nothing else will do!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  15. Suzanne Lopez wrote:

    I love to make homemade flour tortillas, sooo much better than the store bought. You can also fry the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar ..yummy.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  16. Faye Johnson wrote:

    Almost anything that I can think the smell of homemade soup..warms the whole house.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  17. Dick Bennett wrote:

    I have been making my own caesar dressing for years, I also make sunday gravy (pasta sauce), and try to use Artisan Bread in 5 minutes book to make bread as often as I can.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  18. Lauri Logsdon wrote:

    My husband and I make cinnamon rolls from scratch. I make the dough and he rolls, sprinkles and cut into rolls. Yummy!!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  19. Kim L wrote:

    I like homemade salad dressings and bread….but more important homemade panini; although I get great ideas from restaurants; I love making them at home.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  20. Aimee wrote:

    Homemade fries definitely! They’re the best:)

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  21. Maureen wrote:

    Cookies must be homemade. Brownies must be homemade. A friend of mine makes the best baklava I have ever had.
    My SIL makes the best tzatziki I have ever had.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  22. kellypea wrote:

    Sounds like an excellent book — you should write one! When it comes to homemade ingredients, especially ingredients I use on sandwiches or paninis, roasted peppers, tapenade, and pesto are homemade. They’re easy and the flavor is always fresh. This recipe sounds great!
    .-= kellypea´s last blog ..Dorie Greenspan’s Spice Roll-Out Cookies =-.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  23. Van wrote:

    I always make my own Pâte à tarte especially for quiche.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  24. Lisa Bradford wrote:

    My family loves my homemade dinner rolls!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  25. I make lots of things homemade but I’d have to say what I make most consistently is any sort of sweet treat…cookies, desserts, pies, etc. I just like the process and think they taste way better! A friend asked me at Thanksgiving why SHE should make her pumpkin pie from scratch? If you have to ask then you just don’t get it! 🙂

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  26. Tami wrote:

    I don’t make it but a Local Company, Black Pig Meat companies BACON!! The First BAT Panini
    (Bacon, Arugula & Tomato) took me four days in a row before I could stop making and eating them.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  27. Stephanie wrote:

    I always try to make my own dip, its way easy and so much more full of flavour than anything storebought!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  28. Natalie wrote:

    I like to make my own chutneys and to use them in sandwiches and paninis made with my own home-baked ciabatta rolls or focaccia (thanks to recipes from Peter Reinhart) as well as to accompany roast ed or grilled meats. My next batch of ciabatta rolls will accommodate some shrimp and arugala. Can’t wait….

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  29. Michelle McGlynn wrote:

    I love homemade salad dressing-so easy to make and you are able to tweek ingredients as you like! Yum!

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  30. Lillian wrote:

    I make my own guac, sooo much better than store bought versions.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  31. barbara wrote:

    Make at home as much as possible–soups, salad dressings, mayo, and much more. Not much success at bread making though. Still trying.

    Posted 12.18.09 Reply
  32. Sandi wrote:

    I always make home made macaroni and cheese. I have a box of the orange stuff in a blue box but that is for if kids are home alone and make it for themselves. also chex mix and this Christmas I am attempting tiramisu

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  33. Greg wrote:

    I like to make my own bread for sandwiches and panini’s. I find it better than the store-bought stuff, and a french bakery isn’t anywhere near me.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  34. Molly wrote:

    I always make my own macaroni and cheese…so gooey, creamy and delicious!

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  35. PJ wrote:

    Well, I make practically everything from scratch, but I would never purchase a prepared spaghetti sauce.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  36. Elaine wrote:

    It’s insanely time-consuming, but homemade tomato paste is indescribably awesome. The stuff in a can doesn’t even compare.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  37. Emily wrote:

    Yum, yum, yum. This panini looks aaamazing!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Christmas Jumble Cookies =-.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  38. Eric wrote:

    The question is what don’t I make from scratch… and I can’t think of anything offhand. I do cocoa mix, cookies, cakes, roasted garlic heads (yes, I said heads), bread, pie crust, pizza dough… oh wait– I don’t make my own puff pastry. That’s just crazy talk.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  39. Heidi wrote:

    I like to make most of things homemade, but sauces I always make from scratch. I cannot stand pre-made sauce. I make my own marinara, terriyaki, salad dressing and salsa. The pre-made has to many fillers and are never as flavorful.

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  40. Mary wrote:

    Mac&Cheese! And black beans (w/ wild rice).

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  41. Mike wrote:

    Fresh ingredient? Yikes… I don’t know!

    I don’t cook. I was spoiled by being a member of executive hotel teams for over 15 years and always ate in the dining rooms.

    Then, when I made a career change to information technology project management, I was making a tidy salary where I could afford to eat out all the time.

    As a single dude, I finally decided to take the plunge and start cooking for myself!

    My boss–bless her heart–gave me a panini grill this year for Christmas… along with this admonition, “Can’t wait for you to invite Roger and me to your house for dinner!”

    I found this wonderful website by accident… and… just yesterday, tried the tunafish salad sandwich.

    OMG… I am hooked!

    All the best for the holidays–good wishes to all,

    Mike (the cooking newbie!)


    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  42. Michelle wrote:

    I love making my own baked goods. Cookies, cakes, pies. I would never think to use a mix or packaged item for baked goods. If you’re going to make the effort to bake, why not spend the extra few minutes to measure out ingredients instead of just dumping a mix?

    Posted 12.19.09 Reply
  43. Tina Cullen wrote:

    Fresh lemonade. Tastes better than any you can buy because there is less sugar and …. it’s FRESH!

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  44. Kevin wrote:

    Now that is a nice looking shrimp sandwich! Great idea!

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  45. delphine wrote:

    i like making my own marinades and sauces!

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  46. Nate wrote:

    What would you add in there to make it more spicy? A hotter mustard or horseradish? Some sliced jalapenos?
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe =-.

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  47. Balsamic Viniagrette : most our dressings actually
    .-= Jennifer (Savor)´s last blog ..Super Thyme Savor – Sirloin Steak with Port Horseradish Sauce =-.

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  48. I really like to make tortillas from scratch. It’s something that you can find in almost any store, but they are actually pretty easy to make.
    .-= Culinary Cory´s last blog ..Chicago Holiday Adventures: O’ Christmas Tree =-.

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  49. Anna wrote:

    I like to make my mashed potatoes from scratch. I grew up with those potato bud things and can’t really stand fake mashed potatoes anymore. 😛

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  50. Mary wrote:

    I always cook any bean dish by starting with dry beans, soaked and freshly cooked. Great flavor that way.

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  51. Alison wrote:

    Croutons, marinades, mashed potatoes, marinara and fresh lemonade – there is nothing else that is so refreshing!

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  52. SDW wrote:

    When my beloved Eatzi’s closed in Atlanta, I was forced to start making my own homemade Carrot Ginger Soup.
    .-= SDW´s last blog ..Crabcakes!! =-.

    Posted 12.20.09 Reply
  53. Talinn wrote:

    Pesto! The canned versions are just gross.

    Posted 12.21.09 Reply
  54. I always make brownies from scratch. So much better!
    .-= Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last blog ..Mascarpone Polenta with Sausage and Peppers =-.

    Posted 12.21.09 Reply
  55. Cynthia wrote:

    Love making my own breads and have a great recipe for a white loaf that is perfect for panini.
    Happy Holidays all!
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Longing for Love =-.

    Posted 12.21.09 Reply
  56. Amber wrote:

    I love making fresh bread!

    Posted 12.21.09 Reply
  57. Bob Hayes wrote:

    I am panini lover and would like to say for any one who hasn’t tried Naan bread Paninis,, they have missed a great sandwich. I make my own Naan bread. Will share agreat recipe if desired.

    Posted 6.28.13 Reply