-- Right Ho, Jeeves
I sometimes have debates in my head about which country I want to visit most.
I'm reasonably well-travelled already; not through any volition of my own, I should add. I am lucky enough to have parents who love to travel, and for awhile, those delightful laws against unsupervised minors meant I got to go with them. Even since I've been an adult, they've been soft-hearted enough to take me places. My shameless piggy-backing has gotten me to Australia, California, Hawaii, multiple Pacific Islands, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and probably other places that I'm forgetting.
But, aside from a short corporate training stint in Denmark, I've never made it to Europe. This gives me much torment. Like any important decision, the choice of where to travel must hinge on food. But I just can't judge the tasty, simple pleasures of Italian food against the types of fiddly but accomplished cuisines cooked by Wodehouse's temperamental French chef character, Anatole. And so now, my inner Italian mamma must fight it out with my inner Anatole to determine which destination takes priority when I finally have that elusive combination of a salary and holiday time.
Corner Italian mamma: tomatoes, garlic, bruschetta, tiramisu, pizza, pasta, plenty of red wine.
|Italia wins! No, wait, we'd better give the other side a chance.|
|The French market at La Cigale in Parnell is my undoing.|
In the end, I find it's best to make peace between my inner Francophile and Italophile, before one of them cheeses my hippocampus. And so, we reach a compromise. I will, to quote Gilmore Girls, do as the Americans do: "unapologetically bastardize other countries' cultures in a gross quest for moral and military supremacy" by inserting an Italian salad into a French sandwich. Bring on the imperialistic lunch!
1/3C classic bechamel sauce
4 slices thick white bread (I like sourdough for this)
1C mixed heirloom tomatoes
1/3C shredded buffalo mozzarella
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs (optional)
Divide the bechamel between the slices of bread and spread it out evenly. Pile the tomatoes onto two of the bread slices. If your tomatoes are larger, shred them roughly. Top with basil leaves and mozzarella. Close the sandwiches with the other two slices of bread.
Spray a large frypan with oil and heat on medium. Add the sandwiches (carefully) and toast on both sides - about 3 mins per side.
To turn this into a croque caprese madame, add a fried egg on top of each sandwich.