When Rahul and Malini Akerkar of Indigo came on ‘Star Sunday Lunch’ (see The Barefoot Saga) to cook for an episode, they brought with them an entire jar of soft, creamy rounds of homemade buffalo mozzarella. It was the first time I had tasted anything like it and I was in love forever.
The Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwich with Roast Tomato, Garlic and Basil Salsa is one of my top 5 sandwiches because it is quick and delicious. I usually make a generous batch of the salsa and refrigerate since it is quite versatile so putting together an ‘anytime sandwich’ is a breeze. Another hearty and healthy sandwich is the grilled tomato and sesame spinach sandwich with buffalo mozzarella or maybe just the good old grilled caprese. Fresh mozzarella is a very different experience from the processed variety. Processed mozzarella is drier and hence easy to grate and store. It is a big hit as ‘melty’ cheese but can get really rubbery when cold.
On the other hand, fresh mozzarella is beautiful warm or cold. It is great gently grilled but completely wasted on a pizza. The direct, strong heat destroys its delicate flavour and texture completely. You may as well use the processed stuff for that or perhaps fontina.
Today, mozzarella di bufala is a bit of a foodies’ delicacy, i admit. And a bit more expensive than the processed stuff in India. But eat fresh mozzarella on its own or in a simple recipe with the cheese as the hero and you will have a revelation like i did. mmm..mozzarella!
Recipe : Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwich with Roast Tomato, Garlic and Basil Salsa
Thick slices of a farmers loaf or Panini
Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced
Red, sweet tomatoes – chopped
Garlic finely chopped
Fresh basil torn to small pieces
Black pepper powder
Red chilli flakes
- In a pan take olive oil. Add the garlic and cook on low heat till done.
- Add the black pepper powder, the red chilli flakes and chopped tomatoes.
- Add salt, sugar and basil leaves. Mix well.
- Cook on high heat till the tomatoes are dry but still chunky.
- Turn off the heat and add a dash of balsamic vinegar.
- Place the bread slices on the hot pan and toast lightly allowing the bread to absorb any of the pan juices.
- Apply the tomato mix in a generous layer. Place the mozzarella slices on the tomato mix and season the cheese with salt and pepper. Top with the second slice of toasted bread.