Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil salad

It’s the best time of the local food year – tomato season!   One of my favourite ways to enjoy them is in Caprese Salad – a simple Italian salad of garden fresh ripe tomatoes, basil leaves, fresh mozzarella and olive oil.   I just recently made a batch of fresh mozzarella to enjoy with my homegrown tomatoes.  Remember way back in spring when we shared the recipe for homemade mozzarella?  Here’s the link, in case you missed it.

Mozzarella is a really easy cheese to make at home, as long as you have some rennet and a reliable thermometer.  I haven’t found a local source to buy rennet, but I ordered some from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, back in spring for a really reasonable price.  (The only expensive part is the shipping – but if you split an order with a friend or two, it doesn’t cost that much).  I went for the cheapest shipping option, and it came to me in less than two weeks, rather than the 4-6 weeks they promised on the website.  Which means –  if you order now, you might still be able to make some cheese while fresh tomatoes are still available!

A note on milk:  In our class, we used un-homogenized Foxhill milk, which produced a lovely cheese with a sturdy curd.  If it’s your first time making the cheese, it’s worth it to buy this milk because it is easier to work with, and now you can pick it up 7 days a week at both the Seaport Farmers Market and the Alderney Gate Farmers market in downtown Dartmouth.   At home I’ve tried it with standard 3.5% milk which still works, although you have to be careful when you strain the curd because it’s so delicate.   (You won’t be able to cut the curd like you see in the photo from our class). I found that scooping up the curd with a ladle and then straining it through cheesecloth and letting it strain naturally worked quite well, and still resulted in very tasty cheese.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy tomatoes?

-Alison

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