Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pesto Caprese Grilled Sandwiches

How's your weekend going? Ours has been quite mellow. Our original plans were canceled, so we've had a very rare free weekend. We got to watch the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, which were a bit long and slightly strange at parts but mostly awesome. The Queen is seriously cool.

Today I took another hip hop class with Jenn, grabbed a (disappointing) bagel breakfast with Terry, read and relaxed, and then enjoyed an afternoon with some of Terry's extended family celebrating his cousin's second birthday party. The house was absolutely filled with little children, ranging from infants to five-year-olds, and we had a blast catching up with everyone. Tonight we kept it very light and just hung around the house. I thought tonight would be a perfect opportunity to share a new recipe with y'all!

To introduce these delicious sandwiches, I must share that I have issues with distraction this summer. I get very distracted very easily on a normal day, but in the summer it's much worse. I finish my workout and decide I should shower, but I figure I should do whatever else might get me sweaty first. I start in on cleaning out a closet but realize I should vacuum before that. I go to get the vacuum but think maybe I should eat breakfast before I tackle all these chores. And on and on it goes.

So yesterday, as I was cleaning out the freezer, I noticed that we have pine nuts. I also happened to pick up a basil plant at Trader Joe's (it cost the same as buying a package of basil, go figure), and I thought I'd give pesto a go--for the first time ever. Naturally, I stopped cleaning out the freezer in favor of making my sauce.

I searched around a bit for a recipe but decided to go with good ol' Ina--she's helped me with plenty of recipes lately, including roast chicken and bolognese. Her pesto recipe turned out to be fantastic, despite the fact that I halved it, didn't have enough basil, and used more cheese than recommended. But perhaps that all turned out to be great, because this pesto was incredible--salty and tangy from the cheese, rich from the olive oil, a bit sweet from the basil. Her recipe also calls for walnuts, which were a terrific way to deviate from the usual pesto I've tasted. Perfect!

I gave Terry a few choices as far as what to do with the pesto, and he said his mouth watered at the idea of pesto caprese sandwiches. Done! I refrigerated the pesto until dinnertime and then got started.

Pesto Caprese Grilled Sandwiches
Serves 4

  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (we used sourdough, of course)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 4 slices
  • 1/4 cup (or less) fresh pesto
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Spinach leaves, to garnish
  • Fresh basil, to garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat (alternatively, you can brush one side of each slice of bread and omit the olive oil from the pan). Place 4 slices of bread in the pan, then top with the mozzarella slices and the other 4 pieces of bread. Grill 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. You may need to add a bit more olive oil in the pan when flipping. 

To assemble the sandwiches, remove one slice of bread; spread the pesto on one piece of bread, then add the tomato, spinach leaves, and fresh basil. 


You'd better believe we made sure to save enough pesto to make these sandwiches again. We're so excited for dinner tomorrow night!

These sandwiches would also fantastic cold, though I would still grill the bread and then chill it. Perfect for a summer picnic! I love the crunch of the bread with the creamy mozzarella and sharp pesto. If you give these a try, I hope you love them!

Do you get distracted like I do? Stories welcome. :-) 

1 comment:

  1. They are delicious, but I think I enjoy them more cold :)