Monday, September 15, 2008

Caprese sandwich

This past weekend, I went with a few friends to the Italian Market, in south Philadelphia. It's purportedly Philly's oldest open air market. I was mainly attracted by the promise of super-cheap produce and the famous DiBruno Bros. cheese shop.

Establishing shot of 9th Street:

It's not the nicest area, I have to tell you. But you come to expect that in Philly -- everything is just ever-so-slightly.... grungy. But! All of the outdoor produce stands were, as promised, super cheap. For only about $3, I got 1 pound of green grapes, 2 peaches, and 3 plum tomatoes.

Can't say that the cheap feature holds true at DiBruno Bros., though...

Nanda, mugging for the camera so that the cheese mongers don't think I'm a crazy person who is trying to take pictures of the cheese (except I am...):

It's a smallish shop, but it was packed. Evidently popular. I've been to their shop in Center City, which is newer and bigger -- more like a high-end grocery store. I have to say I like this Italian Market shop better, because the focus here is definitely the cheese. I got a ball of fresh mozzarella ($8) and a small chunk of parmigiano reggiano ($5).

My haul from the Italian Market, at the end of the day:

What to do with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes? Make a delicious Caprese sandwich, of course.

Caprese means "from Capri," an island in Italy. A Caprese salad is made of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil (and salt). The Caprese sandwich sticks that combination between two slices of bread. I didn't have any fresh basil, alas, so basil pesto would have to do.

I love ciabatta bread. It's great for sandwiches (particularly panini-style sandwiches), because the interior is soft, but the crust is hard enough to stand up against any threat of sogginess. It also has that sourdough tang that I really love.

A small roll of ciabatta, sliced:

I spread basil pesto on the bottom, then layered on slices of mozzarella and plum tomato. I also seasoned the thing with a bit of salt. (I suppose pepper would be ok if you want it, but I think it strikes out the basil flavor too much.)

Sliced up and ready to eat:

Yummy! I love food.

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