Mortadella and Fig Panini

When I heard there was a contestant on the most recent season of Food Network Star, Jeff Mauro, who called himself the “Sandwich King” you know I had to tune in to see what this guy was about. King, eh? Not that I think of myself as the “Sandwich Queen” or anything…oh, maybe I do :-)…but nonetheless I was intrigued to watch him adapt each week’s challenge into some rather enticing comfort-oriented sandwiches. As you may know, Jeff ultimately won the competition and Sandwich King is now a show on the Food Network.

Jeff Mauro on Food Network Star
Jeff Mauro on Food Network Star (Photo:

I saw my chance to taste one of Jeff’s creations when I came across his recipe for a Mortadella and Fig Sandwich in the latest PEOPLE magazine (my weekly celebrity gossip indulgence). It was actually featured on the first episode of his show. He makes an easy fig jam on the stovetop and spreads it on focaccia with Mortadella and some sliced sharp Italian cheese (I went with sharp Provolone). I knew I’d love this sandwich before I even tasted it – you know I can’t resist a good sweet and savory combo. The sandwich pictured in the magazine wasn’t actually grilled, although the recipe calls for grilling. Here I show you the real deal – and it’s a fantastic sandwich.

All right, Sandwich King…I think we can share the throne. 🙂

Mortadella and Fig Panini


Mortadella and Fig Panini

Adapted slightly from the Mortadella and Fig Sandwich recipe by Jeff Mauro in PEOPLE magazine, 9/19/11

Prep time: 45 minutes | Cook time: 8 minutes | Total time: 53 minutes

Yield: 4 panini


  • 2 cups dried, chopped figs
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 ciabatta rolls (or four squares focaccia bread)
  • 8 ounces Italian sharp cheese, such as Fontinella or Asiago, sliced
  • 3/4 lb. mortadella, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil, for brushing


  1. Combine figs, 1 cup water, vinegar and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.
  2. Purée in a food processor or blender until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Preheat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium-low heat (or preheat a panini grill to medium-high heat). Slice 1 piece of bread in half, thickness-wise.
  4. Place 1 tablespoon fig spread on each half of bread.
  5. Layer cheese and mortadella on the bottom half of each sandwich.
  6. Top with the other slice of bread and lightly brush with olive oil.
  7. Cook until golden and cheese is slightly melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side (or for 3 to 4 minutes total, if using a panini grill). Serve.

NOTE: Remaining fig spread can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.



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
>> About Me

All-Time Reader Favorites!

Panini 101

Recent Posts


Permission Policy

All recipes, text and photographs on this site are the original creations and property of Panini Happy. Do not post or publish anything from this site without full credit and a direct link to the original post. with any requests or questions.

Browse Panini

Leave a Comment


  1. Benthe wrote:

    This looks so good, I’m already excited to try it!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  2. that sounds SO good! and i’ve got the figs ready and waiting 🙂

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  3. YES! This sounds like heaven… on bread. 🙂

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  4. This looks amazing. Great combination of flavors!

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  5. I can’t resist a good sweet-savory combo either. I truly can’t wait to try this one, Kathy. It looks as though I’ll have to tune into “Sandwich King” if he’s going to be making sandwiches like this one.

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  6. Sweet figs and balsamic in a spread. Plus gooey cheese. Plus spicy meat? Feed me please! Delish.

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  7. Wow, just throw another one of those on the press for me, while I polish your crown! That is one tasty looking panini!

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  8. If you’re the sandwich queen, then what am I, a sandwich princess? 😉

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      I think we’re gonna need to find a really big throne for all of us, Susan! 🙂

      Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  9. Carolyn wrote:

    It does look pretty darn fantastic…but your original creations are too! Maybe you are the Panini Queen. Doesn’t that sound prettier anyway?

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      I think I do like the ring of that one, Carolyn!

      Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  10. Sweet and savory! My favorite flavor combo! Thanks.

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  11. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited about this! I LOVE FIG!!!

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  12. Just so you know, I totally thought of you while watching him on that show! I bet you could wipe him up with your panini press Sandwich Queen! But I will maybe consider trying this sandwich, as my husband looooves mortadella.

    Posted 9.16.11 Reply
  13. Now THAT’S a sandwich!!!

    Posted 9.17.11 Reply
  14. Shaina wrote:

    Love mortadella. It’s like the adult version of bologna and toast.

    Posted 9.18.11 Reply
  15. I saw this on the show and it looked so good! I’m sure you did the sandwich justice 🙂

    Posted 9.20.11 Reply
  16. Yes, please! This look so gooey and enticing. And I’m always up for one more use for mortadella.

    Posted 9.21.11 Reply
  17. kellypea wrote:

    Can I please be designated as the sandwich court jester? 🙂 I have yet to see the Sandwich King, but I probably need to tune in since sammies are one of our fave meals. But I’m preaching to the choir, right? I like that you used dried figs in this. I still haven’t quite acquired a taste for fresh figs. Working on it! The panino looks fabulous as usual.

    Posted 9.21.11 Reply
  18. didn’t he have excellent on air personality? he was so good. food network needed a sandwich king.
    and your recreation is definitely drool-worthy. my hubby wants to buy a panini press so badly and he doesn’t cook! He adores panini’s.

    Posted 9.24.11 Reply