These elegant panini sandwiches combine delicious caramelized onions with seasonal fresh figs and melting brie cheese.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the grill
1 large red onion, slivered to make 4 cups
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large baguette, 18 inches long
12 medium fresh figs, sliced crosswise into rounds
4 oz. brie, rinds removed
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the bottom of the pan is coated with reduction, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and scrape up reduction with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking, adding water and scraping up browned bits until onions are softened completely and have a deep brown color, about 15 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Cut the baguette into four sections, then slice each in half lengthwise, leaving one edge uncut so it opens like a book. Tear out a bit of the middle of the baguette to make room for the filling. In each section, place about 1/4 cup of the onions, 3 sliced figs, and a quarter of the brie. Heat a griddle or large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until the surface is hot. Lightly brush both the tops and bottoms of the sandwiches with olive oil, and place the sandwiches in the hot pan, then place a second pan or heavy pot on top of them. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, turn over and replace the pot. Cook for another two minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is lightly toasted. Serve hot.
Serve with a side salad for an extraordinary weeknight dinner or Sunday brunch.
460 calories, 12 g. fat, 30 mg. cholesterol, 920 mg. sodium, 72 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. fiber, 15 g. protein