We have been making this dish for ever and a day. We make all sorts of variations. Sometimes we use Trecce, the plaits of Mozzarella, or really large balls, and tear them apart, drizzling with a grassy extra virgin olive oil and tossing tomato wedges, cucumber slices and basil leaves on top. It is divine, and ready in 5 minutes. Salt and pepper, and it is done.
Sometimes we use tiny bocconcini balls, cutting or tearing them in halves and marinating them, or using them as-is. Add some spring onions to the tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with even more olive oil.
We can’t even remember where we first came across this practice but it is common. Ottolenghi has a great recipe where large balls of Buffalo Mozzarella are marinated in some spices, herbs, garlic and oil, before tomatoes are added. This is probably one of the simplest yet finest suppers you can make. It is a great summery meal to eat on the couch watching your favourite show.
Use only ripe summery tomatoes, juicy and sweetly intense, straight from the garden if you can. Get the best-quality buffalo mozzarella you can find. Serve with good crusty white bread. Enjoy!
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Are you looking for other Mozzarella recipes? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Caperberries, and Mozzarella with Crispy Tomato Crumbs.
Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes, and all of our Mozzarella dishes. Our Tomato recipes are here and our Salads here. Check out our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More.Or explore our Late Summer dishes.
Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato
250g buffalo mozzarella
2 ripe medium tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed)
0.5 tspn fennel seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tspn chopped oregano
2 tspn best-quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 tspn canola oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
to make the marinade
Scatter the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-roast until they begin to pop. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush roughly. Place the crushed seeds in a small bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients.
Break the mozzarella roughly with your hands. Smear it with the marinade and set aside for 15-30 minutes to absorb the flavours.
To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and plate along with the marinated mozzarella. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve along with crusty French bread.
recipe notes or alternatives
Use mint in place of basil.
Add a little balsamic of the best quality, if you dare.