Monday, June 30, 2008

Amalfi Baked Lemons

JJ, a Foodie friend of mine gave me this recipe to try since she knows I have a lot of Meyer lemons to use from my garden. I made it this afternoon as an appetizer for David and I. Delicious, full of fresh flavors and simple to prepare. I baked them with fresh lemon leaves under each one which made for a nice presentaion and added flavor. I found the anchovies to be overpowering. I think next time I will omit them and sprinkle with kosher salt instead. Take into consideration that I am not a huge fan of anchovies to begin with, though do like a touch of their flavor in certain things. See recipe below.

Amalfi Baked Lemons (Limoni di amalfi coti al forno) serves 4
2 large unwaxed lemons
1 or 2 5 oz balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 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 chili, crumbled
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Remove the ends of the lemons and discard them, then cut the lemons in half crossways, giving you 4 1-inch-thick disks. Now, using a small knife, remove the lemon flesh, leaving you with 4 hollow circles of skin. Basically what we're going to do is flavor the mozzarella and push it inside the lemon skin so that it absorbs the lovely lemon flavor 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 waxed paper to do the same thing.
So lay a waxed-paper square or a lemon leaf on a cutting 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 chili 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 sheet, and cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with some hot grilled crositini. Simply scoop the mozzarella out, eat with the toast, and mop up any juices. Delicious!

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