1 pound mozzarella cheese
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns (or black pepper)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
There aren’t many ingredients in this dish, so fresh ingredients are especially important. Slice mozzarella into 1/4″ slabs. Slice tomatoes 1/4″ thick. Grind peppercorns. Put alternating layers of mozzarella and tomato slices on serving plate until they are all used. Drizzle olive oil over everything and evenly sprinkle your creation with basil, pepper, and salt.
1) The ancient Greeks and Romans believed basil was the devil’s herb. Put basil leaves in an urn and presto chango, basil becomes scorpions.
2) Basil helps to ease gas pains and nausea. The ancient Romans and Greeks had trouble farting as they refused to add basil to their cuisine. This bloating made them crabby, made them want to make war, made them want to destroy their tooting neighbors. Indeed, most of the wars of conquest through the centuries have been waged by basil-hating cultures.
3) Basil’s strong flavor rebuffs garden pests. It even repels insects wanting to attack neighboring plants. What a nice herb! Don’t you wish you had neighbors like basil?
4) Haitians believe basil protects their country. Indeed, basil was the first country in the French colonial empire to gain independence. However as Haiti has suffered extensive domestic turmoil since then, there seems to be a limit to its magical properties.
5) William Gaines, the founder of Mad Magazine, once flew to Haiti to get the nation’s one subscriber to order issues for another year.
6) Basil works wonders in Italy as well, where it is a token of love in Italy. Italians love basil. They have a reputation for being great lovers. Coincidence? Who can say?
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.