See my cheese sandwich. Love my cheese sandwich.
For those currently unaware, there's a lot of rage in the food blogging world these days, rage so intense that a certain comment thread had to be shut down because a gentle discussion had devolved into a virtual shouting match.
What has some bloggers so mad? This article from Food & Wine magazine. The author, Pete Wells, tries to make the point -- and, as far I'm concerned, it's valid -- that too many food blogs offer precious little in the way of novelty, insight, and originality. To make his point, however, Wells borrows a derogatory term for such sites, "cheese-sandwich blog," and then proceeds to quote from a few food blogs he deems worthy of the label.
That was a mistake.
Unfortunately, one of the bloggers recognized her own work, and was, understandably, a little upset at being criticized in a high circulation international magazine. As a protest, she has organized a cheese sandwich day for, that's right, today.
Now, I'm no longer one for protest, and after reading the article several days ago, I must admit I was amused, not offended. As I was reading the protest post, however, it finally dawned on me that I had actually planned a cheese sandwich post, because Rachel and I took photos of the delicious mozzarella in carrozza we made this past weekend for just that purpose.
Then I laughed really, really hard at the irony of the situation. And because I know our cheese sandwich is different. Truly.
The sandwich is an Italian take on the grilled cheese. We used Mario Batali's recipe from his latest cookbook, Molto Italiano. (If you'd like the recipe, just follow this link, but replace the milk with heavy cream.) In order to embiggen our sandwich, we bought a loaf of Ace Bakery white sandwich bread and paired it with some creamy, sweet mozzarella di bufala from Alex Farms in the St. Lawrence Market. We then served the sandwiches with a side salad of baby arugula dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
I cannot tell a lie: anything with buffalo mozzarella is divine. I'm still occasionally overcome by the memory of the buffalo mozzarella we shared with an Italian friend of ours in one of the hill towns just outside Rome on our honeymoon. The cheese was so fresh and so exceptional that our host said he believed it had been made that morning, something that can never be said of the mozzarella in North America. Now, this cheese was not that good, but it was pan-fried between two pieces of top drawer bread lathered in eggs, cream, and thyme, so it was still delicious.
I guess what I'm trying to say is: this is my kind of protest.