I’m no gardener– this year is my first attempt at a small one, and I already have some death and pests. (It’s like the plagues of Egypt out there.) Basil, however, seems to resist my black thumb, and it’s one of my favorite fresh herbs. You can usually find a small basil plant at a grocery store for a couple of bucks, so even those without yards can grow a small herb garden. Give it a try– packaged fresh herbs at the grocery store are expensive, have unnecessary packaging, and lack the flavor you can get from freshly-picked leaves.
Tomatoes, I am finding, may be better left to the professionals. The first sandwich was made with cherry tomatoes from a plant in my garden, which is currently dying a sad, wilty death. For the rest of the season, maybe I’ll stick to the CSA and farmers’ market tomatoes. Give this sandwich a try with goat cheese, feta, etc. It’s not rocket science, sure– just a template that you can expand upon, but it is just too good not to share.
Backyard Caprese Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich
Two slices of homemade bread (if possible)
5 cherry tomatoes or 1/2 of a seeded tomato, sliced (in season and locally grown, if possible)
3 leaves fresh basil (backyard- or windowsill-grown, if possible)
Thin slice of mozzarella
Small amount of butter
Preheat a cast iron (preferred) or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place one slice, butter-side down, in the skillet. Place the cheese on top of the bread, then stack the basil and tomatoes. Top with the other slice of bread, butter-side up. After 3-4 minutes, carefully flip over the sandwich. Remove from heat after 2-3 minutes.
Simple cheese and fresh garden tomato is always great; play with whatever you find at the farmers’ market!