Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caprese Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto

Can someone please tell me that it really isn't August yet....

'Cause if that is the truth, summer went by way too fast and that is not okay with me.

I'm serious summer flew by this year, like no summer has before.  Having only a few more weeks left of freedom, sun-bathing, and hanging out with as many friends as possible, I decided to take advantage of what is left of summer...  

So, I made Caprese Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto.

Now if this isn't a summery food, I don't know what is.  The freshest ingredients on top of grilled, salty ciabatta bread slathered with creamy, rich homemade pesto.  Heaven... Summer Heaven.

It only takes a few steps to make and it is so easy to travel with.  So whether you are enjoying your last few days of summer on a boat, in a tent, or by the pool, bring these sammys with you.  They will end your summer with a bang! 

1 ciabatta loaf, halved then sliced 
2 cups fresh basil (reserve 1/4 cup for actual sandwich)
1 cup fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch
2 mozzarella balls

Slice ciabatta loaf in half.  Slice into preferred sandwich portions.

In a small saute pan, add pine nuts and cook on medium heat for about 5 min.  Watch closely and stir them frequently, allowing them to slightly brown and toast.  Set aside and cool.  

In a food processor, combine 1 3/4 cup basil (reserve 1/4 cup for sandwich), 1 cup parsley, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and salt.  

Pulse together, allowing ingredients to break down.  After a few pulses, begin to blend the ingredients together and slowly add the extra virgin olive oil to the mixture.  

Once you added all of the extra virgin olive oil or enough to allow the pesto to become wet, stop blending.  It should be a beautiful, bright green color!

Turn inside or outside grill on high heat.  ( I used an inside grill pan but outside definitely works better.)  Place pieces of bread face down on grill to toast up.

Watch bread carefully.  While bread is toasting, slice tomatoes and mozzarella about 1/2 inch thick.  Set aside with the reserved 1/4 cup basil leaves.

Once bread is toasted, immediately spread desired amount of pesto on bottom half of sandwich.

Top bottom half with desired amount of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves.

I like to serve mine with a little dish full of balsamic vinegar to dip in and some salty, crunchy potato chips!

Happy Summer!

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