Saturday, February 7, 2009

FFOF, a little late

Hey! VALMG came back and I missed it, somehow. If you want to play, go here.

#1. What’s the funniest sounding food or ingredient you know of?

My kids think leeks, bananas and coconut sound pretty silly.

#2. How do you pronounce “cavatelli”?

Gobbadeel, of course! I had a heck of a time finding it in the store the first time I was looking for it!

#3. How do you pronounce “gnocchi”?

Nyucky. They are my favorite. My boys love the Curious George tv show but it took me a long time to figure out that the cat's name wasn't "Noki!"

#4. Share a recipe that calls for mozzarella cheese.

In honor of my newest food obsession, a recipe I can't wait to try from The Spendid Table's How to Eat Supper, as it is a twist on my favorite thing to do with mozzarella cheese: stick it between tomatoes with some olive oil and basil leaves. Yum.

Ripe Tomato Stack with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a starter
20 min prep time
Salad can be assembled 30 minutes ahead

Garlic and pine nuts, currants and onion, take the ubiquitous tomato-mozzarella salad into new territory. Adapted from my second book, this salad might be The Splendid Table's website's most popular download. We had to include it here.

For me , this dish is all Sicily, but nto in the way you might think. It speaks of Sicily's location ninety miles off the coast of North Africa and of the island's Arab occupation from the ninth to twelft century. That era brough Arab cooks--along with scholars, artists, and politicians--to the island. So today this salad tastes more medieval and Arab than anything like modern Italy. This is pure Sicily, as typical as a view of Mount Etna.


3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 medium red onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 Tbs dried currants
2 Tight packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted


6 medium ripe tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella packed in liquid, sliced 1/2 inch thick
About 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1. To make the dressing, in a small bow, combine the lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion, currants, and salt to taste. Let the mixture stand for 20-30 minutes. Just before assembling the dish, stir in the basil and all but 1/4 cup of the pine nuts.

2. Core the tomatoes. Check that each is stable when placed cored side down on a plate. (The idea behind this dish is that each tomato will be sliced horizontally and layered with the cheese and seasonings so that it looks whole again on the plate. keep each tomato's slices in order for easy assembly.)

3. Cut each tomato horizontally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the bottom slice of each tomato on a serving platter. Season them with a little salt, then top each wth a slice of cheese. Season the cheese with a teaspoon or so of the onion mixture. Continue the layers until all the tomatoes are reassembled.

4. To finish the dish, sprinkle the tomatoes with the reserved pine nuts, the olive oil, and any leaftover onion mixture. Serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

Karen said...

That sounds like a great, healthy salad.