Soft, fresh balls of cheese hit with enough heat to melt gently over fragrant lemon leaves, sparked up with a basil-green pesto.
1 large bunch basil
8 large lemon leaves
2 balls mozzarella cheese,
preferably buffalo milk
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil,
plus extra for leaves
Remove the basil leaves from their stems, and place in the food processor with the pine nuts and Parmesan. With the motor running, slowly add enough olive oil to make a fresh green paste. Add a little salt. The pesto can be stored in an airtight jar until needed.
Heat the broiler or a cast-iron griddle. Wash and dry the lemon leaves, then brush both sides with a little olive oil. Thinly slice the mozzarella and place one or two slices on each lemon leaf. Brush lightly with olive oil.
Broil or griddle until the heat causes the cheese to softly melt. Remove from the heat, top each leaf with a teaspoon of pesto and serve. You don't eat the leaf, okay? It's just there to give a smoky, lemony tang to the cheese.
Bread, Tomato, Garlic
Quick Cooking with 3 Main Ingredients
By Jill Dupleix
Soma Books, 1999
Photography by Geoff Lung
160 pages, color
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created June 1999
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