Saturday, June 9, 2012

Borrowing Recipes from the 16th Century

recipe title in red and english translation at the bottom

Grilled cheese isn't a contemporary goodie. It goes way back in history. I was reading Anne Willan's The Cookbook Library and came across a 16th century recipe--Pan'unto con Prouatura Fresca or Fresh Cheese Crostini. According to the translation on the book, Pan'unto means greasy bread in Italian. Although the original creator of this recipe, Domenico Romoli, didn't instruct the us to grill a thick slice of cheese between two buttered breads, he did said "fry [the slices of bread in the shape/ of kidneys] in butter, turning them once". Anne Willan's instruction to her modified version calls for 3 tablespoons of melted butter and fry the breads till all fatty goodness is absorbed then broil everything till you get a crostini. Ultimately you're making a open face sandwich, good for appetizer or brunch. Anne called for a side of fresh figs to go along this crostini.

I thought why not make fresh cheese sandwich instead of a crostini?

What I did differently than both Anne and Domenico is I glued two pieces of bread together with melted cheese and cinnamon sugar. Also instead of buttering the bread then frying the bread in butter, I reduced the amount of butter to just a thin layer on each of the sandwich. Then I bake my sandwich with butter on each side till the crust get crispy.

If you're thinking how can mozzarella--a cheese, go well with cinnamon? I was a little surprised too when I read the ingredient list. To me cheese is always part of a savory dish and cinnamon sugar on the other hand belongs to hot buns and doughnuts. Combining the two together? hmm...kind of weird. I guess it's like how bacon and chocolate go so well together. I'm glad I tried this recipe because it's easy and takes no time to prepare. If you have stale bread, make some cheesy cinnamon crostinis.

a layer of cinnamon sugar on top of melted mozzarella after the bread and the cheese came out from the oven
Melted mozzarella with a layer of cinnamon sugar
nothing is better than melted cheese
The recipe below is my healthier version of grilled cheese. If you want a weekend treat, then go for the grill and the butter. Adjust the amount of mozzarella according to your preference. The more you put the fatter your sandwich and the more pleasure. I also recommend provolone, less smelly cheese to go with cinnamon, but I'm thinking maybe gorgonzola and cinnamon might be surprisingly good too! Who knows?

ingredients and steps for making your own mozzarella cinnamon sandwich

cinnamon goes well with mocha!

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