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Monday, September 29, 2014

For the last of your tomatoes - Mozzarella and Tomato

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ecoRI.org News contributor
One of the things that I love is cheese and, for me, there’s nothing like fresh mozzarella. I’ve wanted to learn how to make it for quite some time now, so I decided to attend a cooking class at Trio Restaurant in Narragansett. While chef Kevin Gaudreau made it look incredibly easy, what I learned is that it actually is, and not as time consuming as I had thought.
Using local curd from Narragansett Creamery, Gaudreau explained that there are just a few simple ingredients to mozzarella: milk, acidity (such as lemon juice, vinegar or rennet), water and salt. The technique of forming the mozzarella is really what’s key to it, because, as I learned, if it’s overworked it becomes too dense.




When we finished making the mozzarella, we were able to try it and, let me tell you, eating fresh mozzarella cheese while still slightly warm is a definite treat. Gaudreau kept it simple by slicing a few local tomatoes, drizzling olive oil and then finishing our appetizer with a little salt and pepper. As he said, keeping it simple is really the most delicious way to prepare and eat.
This week I used the fresh mozzarella that we were given from the cooking class and created an easy appetizer with my cherry tomatoes and rosemary that I still have growing in my garden. Simple really is the best.
Fresh Mozzarella with Roasted Tomatoes
(Serves 6-8)
20-25 small tomatoes, such as cherry or grape
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, about 8 ounces, cubed
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh basil
Salt
Freshly cracked pepper
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Marinate the mozzarella by combining it with garlic and basil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Similar to my roasted tomato butter recipe, on a small baking sheet spread the tomatoes evenly and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes in the oven, about 10 minutes, turning halfway through. You want the tomatoes to still be a bit firm to hold the toothpick, yet slightly tender at the same time. Using rosemary sprigs (toothpicks will work as well) stack the mozzarella and tomatoes and then place them on a serving dish. Enjoy.