We all have our foodie daydreams. Sitting in a French café eating something gooey and cheesy (while a charming accordion plays in the distance, perhaps?) is one of our favorites. Le sigh!

But for those times when you can’t enjoy the streets of Paris, at least you can take your taste buds on European vacation in the form of a Parisian panini.

This simple-yet-délicieux sandwich hits all the marks. Thick, crusty bread; melty Gouda (or fontina or Post-Salut, your choice); plenty of roast turkey; and a savory olive tapenade make a combo that’ll be calling your name — in French, of course.

For the best results, preheat the panini press a few minutes ahead of time, and remember that it’s better to cook this sandwich on lower heat for a longer time (rather than on high heat) so that the bread turns crisp and toasty without burning. Slightly stale bread will usually hold up better in a press than very fresh bread.

So get pressing! Then serve with an elegant, French-inspired green salad and macarons for dessert.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 slices pain au levain, each 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 ounces Port-Salut, fontina, or Gouda cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 tablespoon olive tapenade (store-bought is fine)
  • 4 ounces roast turkey breast, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the panini press. Evenly spread 1/4 of the butter on each bread slice and sprinkle with salt. Place 2 bread slices butter side down on a work surface and arrange the half of the cheese on each slice. Place the remaining 2 bread slices down on the work surface and spread half of the tapenade on each slice. Arrange the roast turkey on top of the tapenade and close the sandwich.
  2. Place the sandwiches on the panini press and grill until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is heated though, about 5 minutes.