Basil! A month dedicated for Basil. Yes I am obsessed.
All food posts this month are about this herb that I enjoyed this summer.
I was fortunate to get a lot of basil this summer at my uncle’s house. I got the chance to dive into the furrows of basil and tomatoes and pick my own vegetables. Yes guys, the simple life; walk under the sun, looking right and left for ripe vegetables to pick, cleaning them, washing them and cooking them.
Last time, I made basil pesto. I used in recipes coming up this month. But first, let’s start with fresh basil. The aroma is captivating as you walk past the plant and give it a slight shake. I have a few small plants sitting at the balcony that like to look after and use some of its leaves for decoration or drinks.
I like to link basil to Italian cuisine. I like Italy, and it’s a travel destination for me if any future travel plans occur, and love Italian food. It’s not all just pasta and pizza as we think, it has so many hidden flavors that I hope I would explore authentically. [Check my EATALIAN experience here]
A usual dish made in Italy is Mozzarella in Carrozza. An Italian friend introduced it to me and advised me to start with it. Mozzarella in Carrozza is a type of French toast (that’s what Wikipedia said) but I think describing it as a hybrid between French toast and grilled cheese would suit it better. Set the name aside, it is a good sandwich once you get used to the Italian cooking style. Unlike us Lebanese, Italians don’t excessively use spices to give flavor to the food. Basic flavors are used along with ingredients that would give the flavor.
This recipe is by one of my favorite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis who is an Italian American chef.
· 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced smoked mozzarella
· 12 slices whole-wheat bread
· 18 fresh large basil leaves
· 8 large eggs
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· Olive oil, for deep-frying
· 2 cups (about) all-purpose flour
· 1 cup purchased pesto
Divide half of the cheese equally among 6 bread slices. Top with the basil leaves then the remaining cheese. Cover with the remaining bread slices, pressing gently, to form 6 sandwiches.
Whisk the eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well blended and frothy. Place the flour in a medium bowl. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Dredge the sandwiches in the flour to coat lightly, then dredge them in the egg mixture to coat completely and place in the hot oil. Cook until the cheese melts and the sandwiches are golden, about 3 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches into triangles. Transfer the sandwiches to a platter and serve with the pesto.
Mozzarella in Carrozza by Giada De Laurentiis on The Food Network [LINK]