I've got to get this off of my chest. I care about bees. Like a lot. So much so, that when I have to write up the Links We Love at work each week I try to throw in one story about what's going on in the world of bees. It's gotten a little much though. I know. I know. People don't want to be depressed and sad thinking about these poor little fuzzy insects that are living on the brink of their demise. They just want to think of them as cute little furry things that fly around and pollinate flowers and produce sweet liquid gold with their other bee friends. They have a matriarchic system for cryin' out loud! They're even raw enough for Wu-Tang to care about. So yeah, they're rad.
So to talk about bees without being a total drag, I've made a new sandwich to showcase their sweet, sweet nectar. It's inspired by one of my favorite pizzas OF ALL TIME. The Bee Sting. It's from this place Roberta's and it is the best thing I've ever had. It's sweet, spicy and absolutely divine. It's got fresh mozzarella paired spicy sopressata, basil, and red pepper flakes. Then it's finished with a touch of honey that just makes your taste buds go "WTF was that? GIVE ME MORE." Well, at least that's what happened to me.
So here's my spin...
- about 4 slices fresh mozzarella
- 2 hearty slices of a Bâtard
- 5 slices of sopressata picante
- 1 tbs of red pepper flaked butter
(combine 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
with one tablespoon of real salted butter, MIX)
- 1 tbs of basil infused honey
(fresh basil leaves and tupelo honey, OF
Ok, so I'm totally obsessed with tupelo honey (and it doesn't have anything to do with my obsession for Van Morrison either. I swear.). It's the only honey I'll eat and you might remember it from the Floridian honey mustard that so deliciously starred in The Homebody. I even get my mom (love you mom!) to ship it to to me, because sadly, I can't find it ANYWHERE in NYC. It's a bummer. If you don't have any, you should buy some. Seriously.
To make the basil infused honey, julienne about ten small basil leaves and stir them into a tablespoon of honey. I let the mixture sit overnight to let the flavors of the basil steep into the honey. When I was searching for a basil laced honey recipe, I found that a lot of people said to heat them together but I didn't think it was necessary. I found that covering the mixture and letting it sit overnight worked wonderfully. After you've got your mixture ready, just spoon on about a 1/2 teaspoon (or more, depending on the size of your bread) onto each slice of the bâtard.
Then add a layer of mozzarella. Fresh mozz won't melt but it will get super stretchy and warm and delicious.
Then add some spicy sopressata. This salty dry meat pairs perfectly with fresh mozzarella because of how moist and mild it is.
And now add on the last layer of mozz.
Then the top piece of bread... AND THEN...
IT'S TIME FOR THE RED PEPPER FLAKE BUTTER. This stuff is for real. It's super spicy and it balances perfectly with the sweetness from the honey infused basil.
Then turn your burner up to medium and set your sandwich in. The lower the heat, the better. You'll want to cook it at a lower temperature so the red pepper flakes don't burn and have a chance to infuse the butter.
Cook it for about three minutes on each side or until it gets golden brown. WATCH OUT though, you don't want to burn the pepper flakes because they get nasty and bitter and no one wants that.
Before you chow down, let the sandwich rest for a minute so that the cheese isn't super stretchy and doesn't slip out when you try to cut it.
So there ya have it. And even though you might not be thinking about bees like I had originally intended, at least I got to talk about them without making people cry. For that, I'm thrilled. Enjoy!