Marinated mozzarella and tomato

If you had lived in Zurich for long enough, you will  have quickly learnt that if the sun is out, you have to leave home and in enjoy it while it is there. God only knows when you will be able to enjoy again walking down the street without having to resort to several layers of clothing. It could be next day, but it can also be in a week, in a month or next year (if ever!). This Summer, it was even more extreme than usual. After a few weeks of sheer desperation, we found ourselves enjoying each quasi-summer day like it was the last one. And, many times it seemed like that indeed it was, and that we all would be condemned to an existence plagued with cashmere cardigans, heavy scarfs and thick stockings….  So, in a nutshell – there was not really a lot of opportunities for cool dishes.  Except, maybe this one, from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. An italian classic, converted into a ubiquitous dish:tomato-mozzarella-basil dictatorship. But, this one has a twist – roasted fennel seeds – which makes it outstanding. Not the usual watered stuff you get so often here in Zurich…

Marinated mozzarella and tomato (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)

Ingredients 

For the salad

  • 250g mozzarella (use buffalo mozzarella for best results)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges

For the marinade

  • 1/2 tablespoon of crushed roasted fennel seeds
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 15 basil leafs shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
  • olive oil to taste (or a mix 1:1 of olive oil and rapeseed oil)
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

For the marinade

First, put the fennel seeds in a small frying pan and heat until they start to pop. Drop them in a mortar and grind them until you have a chunky powder.

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Drop in the shredded mozzarella (shred the cheese and the basil with your hands, for an extra touch of rusticity).

Set aside for a about 20min

For the salad

In a plate, put the marinated cheese and the tomatoes side by side. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, if necessary and serve.

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