When life gives you fresh mozzarella, you MUST make caprese! Summer salads don’t get much easier (or delicious) than this classic combo, and here we’ve added some fresh peaches for a juicy, sweet twist! Inspired by a trip to ICE Culinary with our food editor Sara Tane, this tasty caprese dish is made with homemade fresh mozzarella (recipe courtesy of ICE). If you’re not feeling so fancy, you can always pick up fresh mozzarella at the store and call it a day!
Click here to watch some of Sara's latest experiences in culinary school, and visit here all about her recent (mouth-watering) adventures through Italy, France, and beyond, from the comfort of the culinary school kitchens at ICE!
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced ½-inch thick (recipe below)
- 6 heirloom tomatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
- 3 large peaches, pitted and sliced ¼-inch thick
- Fresh basil, to garnish
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Flaky salt, for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
On a platter, layer fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and peaches. Finish with basil, balsamic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
For the Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (Yields about 1 ½ pounds)
- 1 gallon (16 cups) water
- 1/ 2 cup salt
- 2 pounds (about 4 cups) mozzarella curd, cut into small pieces
Prepare the water: Place the water and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the water until bubbles begin to appear on the surface, or an instant read thermometer registers 180˚F. Turn off the heat.
Heat the cheese curd: While the water is heating, place the cubes of cheese in a large bowl. When the water is ready, carefully ladle the hot water over the cheese until the cheese is covered. Let the cheese cubes sit in the water for about 2-3 minutes without stirring them. After this time, gently stir them with a wooden spoon and look at the curd. If the cheese is heated through, the curd will look smooth (like melted mozzarella) and is ready to be stretched. If the cheese curd is not completely heated through it will look grainy and still have some of the cubes. If so, it needs to sit in the hot water for another few minutes until soft. Keep checking!
Stretch the curd: Prepare a bowl of ice for an ice bath. Once the curd is ready, drain the majority of the liquid from the cheese into the bowl of ice to create an ice bath. After submerging your hands into the ice bath for a few seconds (or putting on gloves), working quickly, before the cheese cools down too much, stretch the curd with the wooden spoon until the cheese is smooth and elastic. Lift and stretch the curd to develop a stringy texture. Be careful not to overwork the curd: this will make your cheese heavy and too chewy. As the cheese cools it will begin to stiffen and become harder to stretch. The cheese is ready to be shaped before it cools completely.
Shape the cheese: Divide the cheese into two or three pieces and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap to help the cheese form a round or cylindrical shape. Place the cheese in the ice bath for a couple of minutes, if desired, to help hold its shape.
Serve the cheese immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.