Welcome back to 'Wich of the Week, where every Wednesday I'll feature a different sandwich I've eaten or prepared at home, complete with photos and instructions on how to recreate it.

This week, I've made a variation on panini, which in Italian means "little bread." In the US, a panini sandwich can be pretty sizable, and the warm, melted delicacies are usually pressed and cooked on a grill. To make my panini, I actually made one giant sandwich in the oven, then sliced it up to make six smaller sandwiches. Good thing, too, because this sweet and savory recipe is very decadent.

I started by splitting a large loaf of ciabatta (about 10 inches long) horizontally, coating one side with fig preserves and the other side with a blue cheese and walnut spread. The yummy center is filled with salty Serrano ham, arugula, and sliced Fuji apple. To learn how to make it, read more.

Sweet Serrano Panini

Serves 6.

1/4 pound Serrano ham
1/4 cup walnuts
3 ounces creamy blue cheese
1/2 Fuji apple or similar
3 tablespoons fig preserves
2 cups arugula, tightly packed
1 ciabatta loaf or similar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you own a cast-iron skillet, place the skillet in the oven to warm it; you'll use it later to press the panini.
  2. On the stove, toast the walnuts in an unoiled skillet for about five minutes, until just slightly browned and firm.
  3. Using a sharp bread knife, split the ciabatta roll in half horizontally. Place the bread slices in the oven for about three to five minutes, until the bread is just lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set on prep surface to cool.
  4. While bread is cooling, combine the walnuts and blue cheese in a small bowl and stir until well blended.

  5. Coat one slice of the ciabatta with the fig preserves, then lay the slices of serrano ham on top.
  6. Next, cut the apple from top to bottom into thin, round slices, avoiding the core. Place apple slices atop the ham.

  7. Pile the arugula evenly over the apples, and spread the blue cheese and walnut mixture onto the bare slice of ciabatta. Assemble the sandwich by placing the cheese-covered slice atop the arugula-topped side.
  8. Place the sandwich on a baking sheet or other oven-safe surface, then cover it with the warmed cast-iron skillet to press the ingredients together.

  9. Leaving the skillet in place, cook the sandwich at 350 degrees for five to seven minutes, until cheese is melted and the bread is lightly browned on top.
  10. With a sharp bread knife, slice the loaf into six small sandwiches and serve immediately.

For more step-by-step details, click on the photos below.