Scamorza Broil With Squash Blossoms and Basil

My first meal in Italy, in 2001, was with my Italian cousin Nicola, whom we'd never met. He brought Stephen and me to eat at a ristorante di scamorza in Rome. The only thing on the menu was different simple dishes of grilled scamorza with one or two ingredients. There was scamorza con prosciutto, con rucola (arugula), con radicchio, con fiore di zucco e aciugga (squash blossom and anchovy)--on and on, plates of nothing but cheese and a bit of fresh vegetable or cured meat. I fell in love with the salty, chewy, simple preparations, and was thrilled when Marcoot started making this cheese variety called scamorza. 

Preparation

In memory of that long lost love affair with my first lunch in my favorite city, I created this recipe last summer. We're too early for squash blossoms and basil, but I wanted to share the spirit of the dish, and invite you to try the scamorza in your share with a bit of garlic and spinach, kale or Swiss chard.

Ingredients Per Person:

2 medium sized squash blossoms (if you don't grow zucchini to eat, you should at least have a plant for the flowers!)
1 or 2 basil leaves, torn
1.5-2 oz. scamoza cheese slices

Since this method doesn't require stuffing your blossom, you can be a little less careful when you open the flower up, but try to keep it intact. Ants and other little insects often like to reside in there, so you may want to soak them in water for 15 minutes before. Pull the stem and the little green bits from the base of the flower and remove the orange stamen from the inside.

Place the flowers and torn basil in small baking dishes (ramekins) on your toaster oven sheet and set the oven to broil.
Slice the scamorza about 1/4 inch thick or more and lay over the top of each ramekin to cover the blossoms and basil.

Put under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

Oops! Not that long. better flip those babies over for a better presentation...

Beautiful! And especially delicious when served with fresh tomatoes, not to mention crusty bread and vino rosso...

Tip: How to prepare bamboo shoots

Don't Be Bamboozled! Bamboo shoots are a fun fresh spring vegetable with a very short season, so don't miss the chance add a new and exciting ingredient to your culinary repertoire! Limited availability--check the store.Read more

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