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
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!