Though the recipe seems elaborate and with a few too many steps I can assure you it is very easy once the flavored oil and marinated cheese is prepared. Both these steps can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated. If you have marinated cheese leftover, they do make a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. The left over oil after picking out the cheese can be used in other dishes (like a salad dressing, on pasta or making pastry/pizza dough).
Flavored (Herb Infused) Oil and Marinated Cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup Olive oil
3 tsp Dry Basil
3 Dried red chilies
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cubed Mozzarella cheese
- Pour all of the Olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan.
- Add the dried basil, red chilies, and garlic and let the pan simmer in very low heat for about 20 minutes. Take care not to overheat the oil.
- Set the pan aside to cool to room temperature. Let the oil to rest at least for 3-4 hours. Longer the oil rests and the herbs steep better is the flavor.
- Take the cheese cubes in a small bowl. Pour the flavored oil just until the cheese cubes are well immersed in the oil.
- It is all right if the dried basil goes along. Leave the garlic and chili in the oil.
- Let the cheese marinate in the oil for atleast 2-3 hours.
- If you don't have atleast 4-5 tbsp of olive oil left over, make some more of the oil using the same method.
1/2 cup Pastry flour or All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 Potatoes, medium
1/2 Medium size Onion, thinly sliced or julienne
3 Medium size Tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)
Salt to taste
- Peel and boil the potatoes till they become soft.
- While it is still hot mash the potatoes using a fork and let it cool.
- Add the pastry flour or all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and appropriate amount of salt and 2-3 tbsp of the flavored Olive oil without garlic and chillies.
- Mix it well till it forms into a soft dough. Cover and set it aside to rest.
- Blanch the tomatoes and peel the skin.
- Filter the olive oil so that all basil is removed.
- In a pan add the remaining flavored olive oil (or about 2-3 tbsp) and just the garlic and red chillies.
- Saute the onion till it is caramelized.
- Crush the blanched tomatoes into smaller pieces by hand and add them to the onion.
- Add the bay leaf and let the mixture simmer.
- Once the mixture comes together, take the pan off the heat and let it cool.
- Take the garlic, chilies and bay leaf off the mixture and set it aside.
- Blend the mixture in a blender and pour it back in the pan. Let it simmer in low heat for a few minutes.
- Now add wine to the mixture. The quantity of wine should be approximately equal to 1/5 of the mixture. A cherry or plum wine goes well here. If you do not want to add wine, add a pinch of baking soda to cut the acid in tomatoes.
- Add sugar, salt (adjust seasoning) and let the mixture simmer till the wine smell disappears.
- Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
- Coat the sides of 2 ramekins with olive oil.
- Split the pastry dough into 2 halves and roll them into balls. Place it in the center of the ramekin and hand press it till the dough is evenly spread on the base and sides of the ramekin, like a pie shell.
- Cut a parchment paper to a size slightly bigger than the ramekin. Keep the parchment paper inside the ramekin and add any grain(rice, wheat)/dry bean/lentil as weight. Do not use ingredients like coffee bean as the flavor of coffee will interfere with food.
- Keep the ramekins in the oven at 375 deg F for about 40 minutes or till the edges of the dough in the ramekin browns. You might hear occasional popping sounds of the bean as the dough expands. Keep an eye on the oven to ensure that the beans do not spill/burn inside the oven.
- Once the dough has browned enough and looks crispy, take the ramekins out (remove the parchment paper along with bean).
- Fill the ramekin with the tomato soup mixture and scatter 3-4 cubes of flavored mozzarella cheese into each soup filled ramekin.
- Return it to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or till the cheese melts.
- The soup is ready to be served.