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Artichoke Omelette and Basil Pesto Ciabatta Sandwich

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

The inspiration for this sandwich comes from a lady who has been reading through almost all of my eat in my kitchen recipes in the past few weeks. She truly impressed me, not only because she soaked up hundreds of posts and stories, she also cooked many of the recipes in her kitchen and sent me the sweetest comments. We’ve never met, but here, on these pages, we share our passionate love for food.

A couple weeks ago, I found out that she loves to cook with artichokes as much as I do and she told me about an omelette she makes with the preserved vegetable. This genius idea never crossed my mind but when she mentioned it I knew instantly that I would turn this dish into a sandwich. I’m a big fan of juicy omelette sandwiches and I also love to sprinkle my bread with pesto, so this seemed like the perfect occasion to combine both treats. In the end, I also stuffed lots of fresh basil and rocket leaves inside the spongy ciabatta which added a fragrant Mediterranean flavour to the hearty eggs. It was fantastic, thank you, lady!

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

 Artichoke Omelette Ciabatta Sandwich with Basil Pesto

For 3-4 sandwiches you need

For the pesto

fresh basil leaves 20g / 3/4oz
fresh mint leaves 2
pine nuts 1 tablespoon
parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 1 small clove
olive oil 50ml / 1/4 cup
salt

Mix the ingredients for the pesto in a blender and season to taste.

 

For the omelette

organic eggs 3
heavy cream 50ml / 1/4 cup
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
large preserved artichoke hearts, quartered, 2
butter 1 heaped teaspoon

For the omelette, whisk the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat half the butter in a small pan and sear the artichokes on high heat for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add the remaining butter and pour the egg mixture over the artichokes. Scramble very lightly and fold onto itself. When the bottom side starts to become golden flip it around. Brown it lightly from the other side for about a minute. Take the pan off the heat and cut the omelette into large chunks.

 

For the sandwich

medium sized fresh ciabatta bread, cut into 3-4 pieces
fresh rocket leaves, a small handful
fresh basil leaves 12
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Lay a few rocket leaves on the bottom side of each sandwich, arrange the omelette on top and sprinkle with pesto, fresh basil leaves and crushed pepper. Close the sandwich and enjoy!

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

 

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

 

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

 

Artichoke Omelette Sandwich with Basil Pesto

 

artichokeomelettepestosandwich9

A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

The past few days have been a pleasant break from my daily duties, my mother came to visit! I decided to take some time off for the long walks through the city which both of us love so much. We started with a beautiful place called Clärchen’s Ballhaus which opened more than 100 years ago, in 1913. It’s a restaurant/ dancehall where people still meet for Sunday tea dance. When we entered the room the sound of Samba, Waltzes and Tangos filled the air and the faces of the dancing couples seemed lost in nostalgic escape, it felt like a different world!

There’s also a gorgeous mirrored ball room on the first floor which has quite a morbid charm, it doesn’t sparkle with its original glory anymore. The room was heavily damaged in the war and it was used to store coal until 2005. The mirrors are dull and broken, the decorations and chandeliers on the ceiling can’t hide the strains of the past years. It’s a forgotten place, a remnant of Berlin’s party days from a century ago. When we left the building and its faded light we stepped right into the bright afternoon, we felt like kids who found an abandoned house.

Our next stop was the Museum Island, a group of beautiful and renowned museums on a little island in the Spree river. One of my favourite Berlin buildings is the Bode-Museum, when I first visited it many years ago I instantly fell in love with it and with the little bridge that leads to its entrance. The round building is a classic beauty, majestic but not intimidating. It keeps a stunning collection of marble sculptures in a light-flooded room, the folds and faces cut into the white rock almost seem alive. Our walk ended in front of this museum, at a bar outside on the river bank. We sat down in deck chairs, enjoyed Prosecco with Aperol and witnessed another one of Berlin’s tea dance scenes. On an open stage, couples danced Tango under the blue sky, forgetting everything and everybody around them. People stopped to watch them and I’ll never forget the beauty of this moment!

So much outdoor activity meant little time for the kitchen, we focussed on salads, snacks and sandwiches. We took it easy this time, no extensive cooking sessions. Usually, when my mother visits, we spend lots of time together in my kitchen but I needed a little break. Yesterday, we had a big family dinner at a restaurant with crayfish and asparagus and today, there’ll be oysters on our culinary schedule. In between, we fit in this little sandwich beauty, pure Mediterranean deliciousness stuffed in a juicy focaccia bun. I sautéed very thinly sliced zucchini and piled them up with ripe tomatoes, basil pesto and green olives. It tastes like summer!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 A Mediterranean Sandwich with Zucchini, Pesto and Olives

For 2 sandwiches you need

focaccia buns, cut in half, 2
medium sized zucchini, cut into long, very thin slices, about 200g / 7oz
(this is best done with a cheese or vegetable slicer)
olive oil
salt
ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 6
green olives, cut in half, 6
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pesto
fresh basil leaves 20g / 3/4oz plus a few small leaves for the topping
fresh mint leaves 2
pine nuts 1 tablespoon
parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon for the topping
olive oil 50ml / 1/4 cup
salt

Mix the ingredients for the pesto in a blender and season to taste.

In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and sauté the sliced zucchini in batches, spread the slices out next to each other. Cook them on medium-high for 1 minute, turn and season them with salt and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side until soft and golden but not dark. Take them out of the pan and keep them on a plate. Continue cooking the remaining zucchini slices, always adding a little splash of olive oil between batches.

Lay the zucchini on the bottom half of each bun and spread the tomatoes and olives on top. Sprinkle with pesto, coarsely crushed pepper and basil leaves. Close the bun and enjoy!

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

Roasted Zucchini, Cherry Tomato and Pesto Sandwich with Olives

 

zucchinitomatobasilpestosandwich8

A thick Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

This pesto is as concentrated as basil pesto can be! I had two big bouquets of this aromatic herb on the table filling the air in the kitchen with the most beautiful smell – fresh, sweet and green! After half an hour of picking the leaves off the stems, I got rewarded with a big pile ready to be turned into a pesto! The weight was about 150g (5.5 ounces), a Mediterranean luxury I can only dream of in the city. I think I would have to buy 20 pots of basil at home to gather this amount!

Here in Malta I can create a luscious pesto which is richer than any pesto I’ve ever eaten before. It’s more of a spread than an oily sauce! The recipe is a classic, I mix the herb with pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt, but the amount of basil leaves and their intense taste make the difference. Herbs that grow in pots don’t develop such a strong aroma, the right soil and hours of sunshine, that’s what you taste in the end.

I often chop some fresh tomatoes into this dish, I like the freshness they add. Sometimes I mix in a few sautéed slices of zucchini but the red fruit is still my favourite!

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

 

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

 Spaghetti with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes

For 4-6 people you need

spaghetti or linguine 400-600g / 14-21 ounces
tomatoes, chopped, 4-6
basil leaves 150g / 5.5 ounces
olive oil 150ml / 5 ounces plus more if you prefer the pesto more liquid
pine nuts 30g / 1 ounce
parmesan 40g / 1.5 ounces plus more for topping
garlic 2 big cloves
salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water, al dente.

Mix the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil in a blender and season with salt to taste.

Divide the hot pasta between the plates and add a dollop of pesto on top. Sprinkle with the tomatoes, parmesan and crushed pepper, serve immediately.

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

 

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

 

Basil Pesto with Spaghetti and Tomatoes

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