Tower of buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil sauce
In a country where a thousand dialects are spoken, never ask where the term “mozzarella” comes from, because some will tell you "from the operation of dividing the thickened mixture of whey and curd"; others will say "from an ancient type of cheese, called “mozza”, others "from the string tightening mozzarella and almost severing it". The important thing is that mozzarella be fresh and genuine. So watch out for imitations! Mozzarella must be exclusively made from buffalo milk. Tradition has it - and gourmets confirm it - that buffalo mozzarella production area is a triangle whose angles are formed by the cities of Naples, Caserta and Salerno. Mozzarella produced in Latium and Puglia is also excellent. What is certain is that, if properly chosen, the delicate taste of mozzarella allows you to savour a typically Mediterranean summer food.
(serve 4 people)
250g/8.8oz buffalo mozzarella
2 large red tomatoes
60ml/2fl oz evo oil q.s.
salt, pepper q.s.
brown sugar q.s.
Cut the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equal-size slices. They must be about 0.5cm/0.2in thick. Set the mozzarella slices aside and arrange the tomato slices in a baking tray. Sugar and salt the slices in equal quantity. Add a few sprigs of thyme. Cut the garlic cloves into halves and spread them over the tomatoes. Add a little olive oil and caramelise for 40 minutes in a convection oven at a 120°C/248°F temperature. While waiting for the tomatoes to be done, put the basil under very hot running water, using a strainer. Dry it and then season it with 60ml/2fl oz of olive oil, salt and pepper. When the tomatoes are caramelised, arrange two towers of flavours and colours, by alternating buffalo mozzarella and tomato slices. Garnish with basil sauce. This dish can be served either warm or cold.