I love Italian Caprese salad – Originating from the famous isalnd of Capri in Italy, it is typically a salad made with fresh sliced tomatoes, mozarella cheese and basil seasoned with salt and olive oil! It is genius for its simplicity. I have also tasted this comination in the form of a hot grilled Caprese sandwich which is a gastronomical delight! Hey! you can’t go wrong with toasted bread with cheese in it!!
Spotting fresh basil[which is a rare occasion out here in Chennai] at one of the vegetable shops, my desi Italian soul demanded that I make something useful with it! So I got cracking and made the Caprese sandwich at home….Since most south Indian taste buds don’t really prefer anything raw (read fresh basil leaves, raw tomatoes) I made my sandwich by creating a basil pesto (with cheese of course) and since raw tomato can be ignored when its combined with melted cheese I didn’t have much trouble with the acceptance of the sandwich 🙂 This is a tummy filling sandwich and pretty yummy to taste and is the perfect snack (according to me) and maybe even a full meal when served with some great soup! And don’t worry if you don’t have a panini maker or a grill – I made my sandwich on a tava with ingredients available at the local supermarket and not imported cheese!!! Here is how I did it…
- Sub sandwich style bread (please look at notes beneath the recipe)
- 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves – separated from the stalks and cleaned
- Sliced Mozarella – (I used Amul Mozarella Cheese)
- 2 Amul Cheese cubes cut into tiny pieces
- Olive oil
- 3-4 chopped walnuts
- For the pesto: Combine basil leaves, salt , Amulcheese, chopped walnuts, and 2 -3 tbsp olive oil in a blender until you get a paste. The paste does not necessarily have to be smooth.
- Careful with the salt as Amul cheese is pretty salty by itself!!
- Heat a tava on high heat so that it gets hot while you work on creating your sandwich
- Slice the sub style bread in the middle into 2 halves
- Spread the pesto mixture on the bottom half. Layer the sliced tomatoes and the sliced mozzarella on the pesto spread
- Sprinkle some salt and drizzle some olive oil
- Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread
- Carefully place the sandwich on the hot tava and reduce the heat to small – medium flame
- Now press the top half of the sandwich with a flat lid or a flat spatula (used for dosas, rotis, crepes or pancakes) until the cheese melts and the top slice sticks to the one at the bottom .
- Gently turn the entire sandwich on the other side and continue the process. Remove when fully toasted and serve with the right side up!
Note: This is what I meant by sub style sandwich bread. If you can’t find this I guess you could use a burger bun or even plain sandwich bread slices….