This has been years in the making.
Mozzarella curd is not easy to find. I've looked online, but the minimum amounts and shipping prices have been crazy. I've called just about every cheese shop in Boston looking for it. In the best cases, I got a "Well, we could order 10 pounds, but you'd need to buy it all." In most cases, I got a "No way." That is until I asked, out of habit more than actually expecting an answer, at my local Whole Foods.
"We don't have any here, but give me your phone number, and I'll see what I can do."
Roughly 24 hours later, I got a call that the cheese guy at the Fresh Pond Whole Foods was holding 2 pounds of curd for me. Hallelujah!!
So I've wanted to try this recipe for a long time, and when I saw this posting for Blog Party 26 - "It's What's Inside," I longed to be able to make it. The stars aligned, though, with that call from Whole Foods, and I raced over to the store as soon as I could.
I've never worked with mozzarella before, and I think that shows in the final presentation. I mean, they taste great, but they lack the polished quality of fresh mozzarella you buy in the store. Now that I have a source, I can practice as much as I want!
Those look like your typical mozzarella balls, seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I wanted them to be a little different, though. Just pop one in your mouth and you'll see what's inside...
Each ball is stuffed with a cherry tomato and a piece of basil. It's like a portable Caprese salad! Just serve with some prosecco, and you have a lovely appetizer... or top a salad with them, and you have something more like a meal.
Caprese My Way
1/2 pound mozzarella curd
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (the smaller the better)
handful of basil leaves
1 Tablespoon salt
Fill a large bowl with cold water; add salt and stir to dissolve before setting this aside.
Cut mozzarella into small chunks and put in a two-cup microwavable bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted together. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir contents until they become shiny. Pour out the liquid, carefully holding back the cheese. Working quickly, wrap a tomato in a basil leaf, then wrap that in a section of cheese. The more you work the cheese, the tougher it will get, so if you want very soft cheese, don't mess with it too much. As you finish each ball, drop it in the salted water.
To serve, drizzle on olive oil or pesto and toss. To store in the fridge, place the balls in a sealed container, making sure they are covered with the salt water.
Note: Yep, still tasty the next day over a romaine and basil salad.