LUCY BURDETTE: I attended a seminar on making mozzarella at the Restaurant Store in Key West this fall. (And by the way, if you visit Key West and are a foodie and/or cook, you will be thrilled to find this store!) Mozzarella Mark is a cheese specialist and we all enjoyed watching the cheese emerge from the brine, and then sampling the fresh cheese and the various ways he put it together.
(I wanted to let you guys know that I don't really expect you to make this mozzarella. You could but I don't expect it.)
One of the problems with my translation is that I was chatting with a friend during the class and didn't pay close, close attention. (Oh my gosh, this sounds so much like my college career.) And then the more I studied Mark's recipe, and the more I thought about the quantities of ingredients he pulls together, the more I thought you should buy your fresh mozzarella, LOL, and then use it to make delicious dishes. But I'll show you how he did it, and then you can decide.
5 pounds curd
Break the five pounds of curd up into little pieces:
Gradually add boiling water, but not too much or you'll kill the curd:
Gather the cheese into a mass, stretching edges, lifting and pulling:
Cut portions into balls and soak them in brine for 12 to 17 minutes:
Wouldn't he make the best character ever?? He looks so suspicious...
One of my favorite (and also easy) dishes using mozzarella involves slicing the fresh cheese, slicing a ripe avocado, and slicing a ripe tomato or two. Arrange the alternating slices of tomato avocado and mozzarella on a pretty plate, and then if you wish, sprinkle them with a dusting of red pepper flakes and good olive oil.
You might also want to dice a couple of fresh basil leaves and sprinkle that over the top. Or now I'm thinking even a spoonful of capers would look nice on this arrangement. And a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if that floats your boat...
You can tell from the recipes I've presented over the years that I use mozzarella unlocked. To read my recipe for pesto, tomato, and fresh cheese pizza click here.
Or the easiest fresh pasta sauce in the world click here.
But the bottom line is try with all your might to avoid the rubbery supermarket mozzarella. Fresh out of the pan the way Mark makes is best, but in the fresh cheese section of your food market, you can find BelGioioso brand, which I like quite well.
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