Breakfast Panini with Georgia Pecans, Cheddar and Sausage

Panini are Italian sandwiches, generally pressed and pan-grilled, made with a variety of fillings, especially leftovers. While a panini-maker or grill pan is ideal for their preparation, this breakfast version, which pairs nutty pecans with a classic morning-food mixture of eggs, onions, cheese, and sausage, can also be cooked in a standard skillet.

1 teaspoon butter, plus more for bread
3 green onions, chopped
4 fully-cooked breakfast sausages (thawed if frozen), chopped
1/2 cup chopped Georgia pecan halves
4 large eggs, well beaten
8 thick slices Italian bread
4 ounces yellow cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

In non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions, sausages, and pecans; sauté until onions are just softened—about 3 minutes. Add eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are firm but not dry. Transfer sausage mixture to plate.

Heat a panini maker or a grill pan over medium-high heat. To make four panini, divide sausage mixture into 4 portions. Mound each portion on one slice of bread. Top each with one ounce of cheddar, then a slice of the remaining bread.

Very lightly butter the outside of each panini. Cook in batches in panini maker until both sides of each panini are golden; serve promptly. Or, if using a grill pan or skillet, cook two panini at a time, placing a heavy skillet or heat-proof dish on top to weight down panini as they cook. When golden on bottom, turn panini over and grill other side until golden; serve warm.

Nutrition information per panini (using a total of 2 tablespoons butter for all four servings) – calories: 544; protein: 26g; carbs: 35g; saturated fat: 12g; monounsaturated: 14g; polyunsaturated fat: 5g; cholesterol: 273 mg; fiber: 3g; sodium: 811 mg.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 large panini
Courtesy: Georgia Pecan Commission