Sunday, July 29, 2007

Speck, Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

Speck is a dry-cured smoked Italian ham made from the hind leg of a pig. The ham is cured with a blend of salt, pepper and spices and smoked for about a week in cool temperatures. Speck is made in the Alto-Adige region of northern Italy near the Austrian border giving it both German and Italian influences. Browsing the deli counter at AJ's I noticed that they carry Boar's Head Speck for $19.99 per lb. Curious, as to the taste, I decided to buy some. I was informed by the woman behind the counter that speck should be cut very thin. So I decided on a 1/2 lb and off I went to give it a try. Coming up with ideas on how to eat this was part of the fun. I enjoyed some the first day with crusty Italian bread and sharp provolone cheese. The flavors blended really well; but the next day I wanted something a little different. I was thinking of a grilled cheese or maybe just a speck and tomato sandwich. So I decided to combine everything and make a toasted speck mozzarella and tomato sandwich with some fresh basil. Here's how I did it. First cook the speck in a pan over low heat just for a few seconds. Next butter one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice, buttered side done, in the pan. Top this with several slices of speck, mozzarella and tomato. Add fresh basil and the other slice of bread. Grill the whole thing over medium heat until the bread is toasted on both sides.

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