This is a recipe that isn’t really a recipe, but perfectly encapsulates how cooking using fresh, real ingredients can be incredibly simple and satisfying: What better recipe to start Minozekwe with than that?
The classic Italian combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil comes from the island of Capri, which gives its name to this summer trio. Using high quality, homegrown ingredients makes this sandwich special, but it will be just as satisfying using store bought tomatoes and basil, and block mozzarella cheese.
If you have a panini maker, the beginning of summer is the perfect time to pull it out and give it some precious counter space–there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables that taste delicious inside of a pressed sandwich. And, if you happen to live in a house without an air conditioner, you’ll barely heat up the kitchen at all in the creation of this panini. If you find yourself without a panini maker (like myself), or don’t feel like rummaging through overflowing cabinets to find yours, this sandwich can be made using two heavy skillets.
Classic Caprese Paninis
- 6 slices hearty bread (sourdough, french bread, and country loafs all work well, and regular white/ wheat sandwich bread will still end up tasting delicious)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 8oz. fresh mozzarella
- 10 large fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- olive oil for drizzling
- Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is best), grill pan, or panini press to medium heat.
- Peel garlic clove and cut in half. Rub one side of each piece of bread with the raw garlic
- Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4inch rounds. Season tomato slices with salt and pepper.
- Stack tomato slices, mozzarella, and basil leaves onto three pieces of of the bread, then top with the remaining slices.
- Drizzle olive oil in pan or press, then lay down sandwiches. Drizzle olive oil onto the top slices of bread.
- Engage the panini press, or place another heavy skillet or pot on top of sandwiches.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until bottom of panini is toasted. If using a panini maker, your sandwich is done! If not, remove the heavy top skillet, flip sandwich, replace the top skillet, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The panini is done when the cheese has melted and bread is toasted on each side.
That’s my living basil plant in the background–isn’t it adorable? Just a few more weeks (hopefully) before I’ll be able to use my garden grown basil!