I'm not very good with cheese. Most hard cheeses make me sick, and I don't like the taste of most soft cheeses that I can safely eat. However, maybe it is because I developed a taste for artisan pizza at a very young age, my cheese loathing does not seem to stretch to mozzarella; which, cooked or raw I simply adore. Even though it is still Spring, because I'm a Brit currently experiencing Southern Californian weather in my head it is already Summer, so I am well into Summer cooking. One of my current favourites for a light supper or weekend lunch is Marinated Mozzarella, adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty.
Using small pearls of mozzarella instead of a torn ball, and making the mixture up with more olive oil and in a jar allows me to make it on Sunday night and keep it in the fridge until about mid-week when it is all gone (you should only keep it a couple of days anyway) when all I want to do is throw together a salad. This also makes it portable, which makes it a great and unique thing to take to a picnic.
Serve with fresh crusty bread and roughly chopped ripe cherry tomatoes. Also, once you have removed the mozzarella from the jar, just before serving grind over some fresh pepper and sprinkle with flakes of Maldon Sea Salt (or any other large flaked sea salt, but Maldon crystals are preferred.)
- Approx. 1 1/2 tubs Mini Mozzarella Balls
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds, Crushed
- Zest of 1 Small Lemon
- Handful Shredded Basil Leaves
- Small Handful Fresh Oregano, Roughly Chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (best quality you can afford)
Mix together the fennel seeds, lemon rind, herbs and garlic in a small bowl with a very generous glug of olive oil. Drain the mozzarella and toss in until well coated in marinade. Fill the jar to the top with cheese and top up so it is full of olive oil. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well to mix the rest of the oil in with the marinade ingredients. Refrigerate and leave for at least 3 hours before serving. Consume within 2-3 days.
Let me know what you think of these delicious little nuggets of cheese, and here is to a Summer of delicious food! I've got a few warmer weather recipes I can't wait to share with you over the next month or so, and so much planned for when I move back to England at the end of next month where I will have a full kitchen to work in again, and, more importantly for Summer cooking, a barbecue!