Fried Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Yields 2 servings

1 cup of basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of walnuts
1/4 cup of Parmesan-Reggiano
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Fried Mozzarella:
1 tomato
1 quart of canola oil
1 five ounce ball of mozzarella (low moisture, not water packed)
2 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon of oregano

1. In a food processor, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts), Parmesan, and pulse until chopped. With the processor on low, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until completely combined. Taste the pesto and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. Slice the tomato in 1/2 inch slices and place on paper towels. This will absorb some of the tomatoes’ moisture.
3. Prep a plate with a few layers of paper towels. Fill a 10″ cast iron pan with 4 inches of oil, about 2 quarts, and heat oil to 350F.
4. While it’s heating up, slice the mozzarella into 1/2 inch slices. Prep bowl with beaten egg. On a plate, combine bread crumbs, crushed red pepper, oregano and salt (if needed). Note: Try your mozzarella. If there’s a lot of salt, chill on the salt. Don’t add any. If the mozzarella has no salt, then add about 1/4 teaspoon to the bread crumb mixture.
5. Double-dip mozzarella by dipping in the beaten eggs, then bread crumbs and repeating the step. This will give you a thick delicious crust.
6. Gently drop the mozzarella into hot oil using a slotted spoon and fry, about 30 seconds, or until golden brown. Turn the mozzarella and allow to fry on the other side for another 30 seconds.
7. Transfer to the paper toweled plate to drain.
8. Grab a plate and stack tomatoes and mozzarella in whatever fashion you like. Top with pesto and a crack of black pepper.