Grilled Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwich with Squash Blossoms and Pesto

This sandwich is very simple and startlingly good! The bread should be simple so it does not overwhelm the other flavors, and not too chewy or you will miss the soft textures of the buffalo mozzarella and squash blossom. And don’t forget to use a nice crunchy large crystal salt to finish. The bite of the salt snaps the other ingredients into perspective. Note that this recipe is for one sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices of sandwich bread (nothing too fancy—light on the seeds and sweetness)
4 1/4-inch thick slices fresh buffalo mozzarella (enough to cover a slice of bread)
2-3 squash blossoms, cleaned and opened out flat
1 tablespoon or less of pesto
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 pinch of large grained salt such as Maldon, Murray River, etc.

METHOD:

Heat a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When hot, lightly coat three sides of the bread with the mayonnaise, getting all the way to the edges.

Put the sides of the bread that will be the inside of the sandwich face down in the hot pan. Cook until golden brown. Pull the piece of bread that has mayonnaise on both sides from the pan and flip it. Spread the pesto on that side and then put the cheese on the bread. Layer on the squash blossoms, then flip the side of the other slice of bread that has been cooked golden onto the sandwich.

Push down gently with the spatula and cook the sandwich until the side in the pan is golden. Carefully turn the sandwich over in the pan. (If the pan is completely dry, you should add a little oil or butter to the pan or smear the piece of bread with mayo.) Cook until golden and the cheese has melted.

Remove from the pan and allow a couple moments to cool. This will save you from getting burned and the bread will firm up a little and get crisp. Sprinkle the sandwich with a little salt, then enjoy.

Chef Notes:

  • The mayonnaise acts as a lubricant and also promotes a nice crisp golden sandwich. There is usually enough oil in the pan after the first three sides that coating the fourth side of bread isn’t needed. If mayo isn’t your thing, try using softened butter or a margarine. You want a very thin coating of whatever you use so the bread gets crisp rather than soggy. If you choose to use oil, use a sprayer to get a light coating.
  • This sandwich works well in a panini press or a Foreman grill. Just coat the outsides of the bread.
  • This is one instance where more is not better. Too many squash blossoms and the sandwich will taste bitter and very “green.”  If you do not have pesto, you could just shred a couple basil leaves and include them. You might try a touch of Salsa Verde also. Just remember to keep the pesto or Salsa Verde very light.

YIELD: 1 serving

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