Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Amalfi Baked Lemons

After watching my Jamie's Italy DVD, and watching him wandering around the sun-drenched shores of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, I wanted a taste of summer for myself. So, I decided to test out a recipe I was thinking about making for a dinner party this weekend. In Italian, the dish is called limoni di amalfi cotti al forno, which basically translates to Baked Amalfi Lemons in English. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to track down any Amalfi Lemons (yeh... good luck!) but these lemons from Piedemonte's , which is about as Italian as they're going to get around here in Fitzroy!
The basic gist to this recipe is you cut a lemon in half and fill it with some yummy buffalo mozzarella and some other bits and pieces and bake it, so that it's all melted and oozy! The mozzarella takes on the flavour of the lemon and you spread it across some toasted Ciabatta.
Bloody delicious. And in case you were wondering.... no, you don't eat the lemon skin!!
Here's the recipe, which I found here for your cooking pleasure:

  • 2 large unwaxed lemons
  • 1-2 x 150g balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 0.5 cm / 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 dried red chilli, crumbled

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
  2. Remove the ends of the lemons and discard them, then cut the lemons in half crossways, giving you 4 x 2.5cm/1 inch thick discs. See the picture opposite to see what I mean. Now, using a small knife, remove the lemon flesh leaving you with four hollow circles of skin. Basically, what we're going to do is flavour the mozzarella and push it inside the lemon skin so that it absorbs the lovely lemon flavour when it bakes.
  3. Now the mozzarella is obviously going to melt and ooze out when baked. In Italy, a lemon leaf is placed underneath each one to keep everything in place, but it's fine to use a square of greaseproof paper to do the same thing. So, lay a greaseproof paper square or a lemon leaf on a chopping board and place one of your lemon skin wheels on top. Cut a piece of mozzarella to fit inside, then lay a basil leaf, half an anchovy fillet and half a cherry tomato on top with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Add a little dried chilli if you like. Put another slice of mozzarella on top. The lemon skin should now be filled up.
  4. Do the same to the rest of the wheels, place them on a baking tray, and cook in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with some hot grilled crostini. Simply scoop the mozzarella out, eat with the toast and mop up any juices. Delicious!


Cindy said...

Those look gorgeous! I might try subbing capers for anchovies for a vego version.

Adski said...

they were very tasty. Very cool to bring to the table all bubbling and hot!
MMmm.. I'm not sure about the capers..might be too strong, because you'd want the cheese to be the main flavour. You could probably just do without... I couldn't even taste the anchovies, neither could anyone else really.
GIve them a go though, you can get a ball of buff' mozza' from Piede's for about $10 (cheaper at the markets)

Truffle said...

What a fantastic idea and I love the look of the end product. Brightens up a wintry day!

IronEaters said...

they look yummy and what a great idea!

esther said...

hey these look awesome.. i'm gonna do them next time i need to wow someone for sure. all this warm weather makes my mind turn to basil and tomatoes..

and thanks for the link, i just found you in my webstats and i reckon i'll be back for the lamingtons and more. need a little cooking inspiration to get me blogging recipes again....