Scrumptious tomato and cheese panini

Tomato and Burrata Cheese Panini with Saba Glazed Bacon and Watercress
Makes 4 portions

  • 4 each Heirloom Tomatoes (large Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, etc.)
  • 1 each Herb Slab Bread (Acme Bread preferred)
  • 2 bunches Basil
  • 2 oz Olive oil
  • 4 oz. Mayonnaise
  • 2 oz. Watercress
  • 6 oz. Burrata Cheese
  • 8 pieces Bacon
  • 6 oz. Saba (Saba is a close relative to Balsamic vinegar. They are both made from Trebbiano grape juice. Whereas the vinegar is aged the Saba is cooked and reduced to create a sweeter almost syrup like consistency. It is available in most specialty Italian grocers. Balsamic vinegar is an appropriate substitute).
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 oz. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 oz. Cracked black pepper

Recipe steps

Prepare the bacon by mixing the brown sugar and Saba together. Lay the bacon on baking sheet and pour the Saba and sugar glaze over the top. Cook the bacon at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. Turn the bacon over and continue until cooked. Prepare the basil by blending with olive oil at high speed until smooth. Combine the Mayonnaise and basil puree together. Slice the bread in half. Smear evenly with the basil mayonnaise on the bottom half. Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Season the tomatoes with the sea salt and cracked black pepper and spread the slices evenly across the bread. Lay the bacon across the tomatoes. Add the watercress. Finish with Burrata cheese. Place top half of bread over the sandwich and press.

Serve directions

Cut the Panini in 4 equal pieces. Press under a Panini grill until the cheese is melted and serve.

About Chef Paul Arenstam:
Paul's formal training began at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. In 1989 he obtained an internship with two-star Michelin Chef, Michel Rostang at Fennel in Santa Monica California. After graduation, Arenstam worked at L.A.'s top spot, Patina, under Chef Joachim Splichal and was subsequently promoted to Sous Chef at Splichal's Pinot Bistro in Studio City. In 1994, Paul relocated to San Francisco to eventually become Chef de Cuisine at Rubicon, where he met famed New York Restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Master Sommelier Larry Stone whom he credits as mentors. Critical praise followed Paul with the opening of his beloved oyster bar/brasserie Belon in 2000 and continued with his tenure as Executive Chef at Grand Café in 2002.

An ardent proponent of organic and sustainable ingredients, Arenstam has been featured in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Besides his passion for all things epicurious, Paul shares his devotion to the Boston Red Sox with his wife, Charlene Reis and their son Theo.

Americano Restaurant & Bar
Hotel Vitale
8 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

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