It is written that the end of the world will come with water. Until that time, fire shall rule the udders of cows and stomachs of men.
This dish has been a staple at Imbolc celebrations in my house for the last decade. Its original name and composition has been lost, though I do remember it called for "sheep's cheese" in the beginning. We've tinkered with the ingredients every year until finding our favorite combination.
Block of Mozzarella cheese, sliced to about .25"/.5cm thick
lemons, juice of
fresh basil, chopped fine
1 shot (1.5 oz)
1 shot (45 mL)
vodka (or other high-alcohol content liquor)
long-necked lighter or long-stemmed match
This is not a recipe where exact proportions are very important.
Fresh mozzarella is not recommended as it gives off a lot of moisture when it is heated. Part skim mozzarella will work fine, however, if you are trying to cut fat. (By eating spoonfuls of melted cheese? Ooooookay.)
This is a community dish, rather like fondue, so be sure you have somewhere to serve it that folks can gather 'round.
Can also be made without the spectacular finish if fire makes you jumpy. Follow all directions, but instead of removing from oven, bake until top begins to brown (you may want to broil for 5 minutes on top of the 15-20 already baked) and then serve.
Lightly grease an 8x8" glass baking dish and preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
Depending on your love (and tolerance) of garlic, smash the cloves before mincing to release the most potent flavor. Otherwise, mince finely.
Loosely layer cheese, garlic, and basil until you run out of ingredients. Try not to put any basil on the top, as it's likely to get burnt in the flaming process at the end. Pour the lemon juice over the layered ingredients.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted and slightly bubbly around the edges but not yet brown on top.
Remove from oven and place on a trivet in a central location. Gather guests around, turn off the lights, pour vodka over top, and set fire to that sucker. Watch the pretty lights. Pass out forks and bread and dig in!
At our house sometimes add more vodka and re-flame as we eat through it, but we're a touch pyro.