Caprese sandwich – Chennai Style!


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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…

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Salt
  • 3-4 chopped walnuts

Method

  • 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 slicedย mozzarellaย on the pesto spread

    Arranging the Sandwich
  • Sprinkle some salt and drizzle some olive oil
Close look at the arrangement
  • 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!
Caprese Sandwich
See how the tomato gels with the melted mozarella!! muah!
Caprese goodness!

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….

Sub Style Sandwich Bread - Image Courtesy: Internet
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13 comments

      • Wow! Im surprised they even sell these… Thanks a lot!

        Ive always wanted to try pasta with actual fresh basil nd experience what difference it actually makes.

      • Well basil is a bit strong, so you may want to start with a few leaves at first to season your pasta ๐Ÿ™‚ good luck with finding fresh basil in namma chennai!

      • I heard a couple more stores selling basil Amma naana near park Sheraton and suryas sweets and groceries stores in Mandaveli/Alwarpet I think. I am yet to check it out myself though ๐Ÿ™‚

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