Last September we visited Rome - the magical city of magnificent piazzas and mouthwatering trattorias. It was the first leg of a two week trip to Italy which also took us to Tuscany and Venice. Rome is full of history, every building, every stone has some story behind it. We soaked in as much history we could through our guided tours. But the high point of my stay in Rome was the little farmers market below our rented apartment in Pigneto.
I am absolutely crazy about farmers markets. I always feel like I have to go there, no matter which city we are in - NY, London, Paris or Rome. I love to get inspired by the fresh, lovely ingredients these local stalls have to offer and let my imagination run wild to create something flavorful to do justice to these beautiful ingredients. So as you can see in my mind the biggest attraction in Rome was the market below our apartment.
I didn't have much time to visit the farmers market everyday, as we were busy with history and cultural tours. On the last day of our stay, I visited the market. Brunch in mind - I bought bread, eggs and fresh mozzarella cheese. Though it was not in my plans the produce was so fresh and smelt so good that I couldn't resist buying basil, fresh cherry tomato, zucchini and white button mushrooms.
Now I had to decide how to incorporate these additional ingredients into brunch. We were leaving Rome that evening - so all of it had to go! With the mozzarella, bread and eggs I was planning to make cheese stuffed french toast. With the rest I decided to make a tomato sauce with garlic, basil and vegetables. It could go on the toast where the tangy tomato sauce would cut some of the richness of the cheese stuffed french toast.
Glad to report that the experiment succeeded :) We devoured the brunch and suitably fueled set out to wander the streets of Rome for one last time.
Recipe (serves 2)
4 slices of bread
1/4 cup milk
2 slices of mozzarella cheese
2 sun-dried tomato
250 gm cherry tomato
4 large button mushroom
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 bunch of basil leaves
Heat a non-stick pan and put olive oil when the pan is hot. Mix the eggs and milk in a wide bowl, add salt and pepper to the mixture. Take two slices of bread, put cheese and sun-dried tomato on it. Put the remaining two slices of bread on the top. Then take the sandwich and dip it in the egg mixture and put it on the pan. Lower the heat, so that the egg cooks slowly and the cheese inside melts and makes the toast all gooey. When one side of the toast is done flip it carefully and let the other side cook for a couple of minutes.
In the mean time, cut the vegetables in the same size as of the cherry tomato. Put oil in a pan, wait till it gets hot, put garlic and cook it till it gets fragrant. Add all the vegetables except tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes till it gets soft. Then add tomatoes and cook it till it has a sauce like consistency. This should take a few minutes. Finish it off by adding basil to the sauce.
Finally, cut the toast in half and serve the toast with the sauce!