Wanted to put the food front and center - the story on this little bite of heaven is below. . . .
Last week we got to meet Mario Batali in person! It was so cool - he was funny and articulate and down to earth. He was doing a book signing (Italian Grill) at msft and since we sponsored the room set up, six of us got in for a brief meet and greet before the main event. This is the only picture we had the presence of mind to snap.We talked to him about where he likes to eat - basically, he likes to eat whatever is local and good where he is, and simple is better. Since his family is here in town, they generally go out to a seafood restaurant and call it good - as he said, any restaurant with 30 kinds of oysters and 9 glasses of Washington and Oregon Pinot Gris by the glass is good. Elliots. Steelhead Diner. Etc. We told him about the 20 buck duck at Campagne in January. Then we all got to walk to the cafeteria together for the talk. Honestly I think we were all a little starstruck, but in a low key way. So, he got up and talked for nearly 30 minutes and took questions - funny funny stories, then big long lines for the book signing, which we were able to avoid because we all got our signed before!
Anyway, there were lots of good questions, but of course I remember mine. "so, Mario, what's your favorite recipe in the book?" Answer - "well, that's a lot like asking me what my favorite Talking Heads song is - I love them all. But, probably I would pick the Mortadella and Robiola" ( see pages 34-35 of the book) - deadpan delivery - "we made it on the Martha Stewart show last week and I think she nearly had an orgasm . . . . "
oh good lord - he brought the house down!
So basically, you take thin slices of mortadella, place a small piece of robiola cheese inside (a soft white cheese - we substituted brie with the rinds cut off) and top with a basil leaf. Then fold it into a packet and grill until the cheese is melted and the mortadella is crispy. Holy cow, absolutely sublime. He serves them as an antipasto, but I loved them on a bed of arugula with vinaigrette - it balanced the richnesss a little bit. We had a big dinner planned the night we made these, but they were so good we just stuffed the steaks back in the fridge and ate these and a bit of pasta and it was perfect!