Crab & Lemon Goat Cheese Panini

When I was a kid, my parents would take us out to the beach at dusk with a net and some old sneakers, and we’d meet family friends to go crabbing. I can still remember the weary feeling of wading in knee-deep water, scooping the net along in front of me, hoping to catch the crab before it tried to chomp on my toes. Back at the house we’d boil the crabs and eat them simply, each picking our own, to get to that briny sweet meat. Nowadays I’m more apt to buy already picked crab meat, which can be found readily and of good quality. You’re going to love the use of crab in this crispy, creamy sweet and spiced sandwich.


A soft, small ciabatta bread will give you the best results. Drain the crabmeat if it is watery.

Sandwich prep

Begin by spreading the goat cheese on the bread.

Sandwich prep

Next spread the crab over the cheese.

Sandwich prep

Continue layering with the herbs and onions.

Sandwich prep

Finally layer the jalapenos on the sandwich.

Panini pressing

Cook in a panini press until warm and crispy.


Quick & Easy Mid-Week

Crab and Lemon Goat Cheese Panini

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 4


  • 4 small ciabatta loaves
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon berbere* spice blend or use chili powder if you cannot find this
  • 8 ounces crabmeat
  • 20 or so medium basil leaves
  • zest of two medium lemons
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalepenos drained


  • In a small bowl, zest the lemons using a microplane. Add the goat cheese and salt, and mix until combined.
  • Warm your panini pan, large cast iron skillet, or grill. If not using a panini pan, it will be helpful to use a large stockpot to weigh down the sandwich as it cooks.
  • Split the bread lenghtwise, and smear the goat cheese evenly over the 4 loaves. Top with the crabmeat, then sprinkle the berebere spice or chili powder evenly over top. Next top with equal amounts of the crab, then sprinkle the scallions and basil evenly over each sandwich. Finally layer a few sliced, pickled jalepenos and some black pepper. Close the sandwiches.
  • Lightly oil your pan and cook the paninis for about 3-4 minutes a side over medium low heat. They should have enough time to warm through without getting burned, but enough heat to create a crunchy exterior crust. If not using a panini pan, make sure to press down on them with something heavy while they cook to flatten them out. When toasted and warm, cut in half and serve.

Tips & Tricks

*Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend that can now be found in many supermarket spice aisles, however substitute a basic chili powder or even an ancho chili powder if you cannot find it. It adds a nice, subtly smoky heat to the sandwich.

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