Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recipe for Marinated Fresh Mozzarella with Herbs

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella
This tasty mixture of mini mozzarella balls and fresh herbs might be the easiest appetizer you've ever whipped up, and I'm guessing it will impress your friends. After I discovered mozzarella pearls at Costco and made Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, I heard from a lot of readers who loved the idea of the little balls of fresh mozzarella. I thought it might be fun to try another way to use them, and this recipe is adapted from one I found in How to Cook Everything. I used mostly basil, with just a tiny bit of oregano, but I'm thinking mint would be great in this, and in fact you could probably use any type of fresh herbs that appeal to you. (Edit: Thanks to Joanne from Eats Well with Others who tells me this is called Bocconicina which means "little balls" in Italian.)

Basil goes so perfectly with fresh mozzarella, and I can't wait until my now-tiny plants produce a lot more of it. Basil is an annual herb that's easy to grow from seeds. This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, managed by Haalo, and hosted this week by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina. Check the Rules for Weekend Herb Blogging if you'd like to participate.

Drain the mozzarella pearls, or if you're using larger pieces of fresh mozzarella, cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Wash the herbs, spin dry or dry with a paper towel, and then finely chop with a chef's knife.

Mix olive oil, chopped herbs, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. I used just 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, but you can bump it up a bit more if you'd like it spicy.

After the fact I realized that marinating this in a yellow container made for bad photos, but whatever type of container you use, marinate for 30-60 minutes at room temperature.

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
(Makes about 8 appetizer servings, adapted from Marinated Mozzarella in How to Cook Everything.

1 lb. fresh mozzarella pearls (or use any type of fresh mozzarella and cut into bite-sized pieces)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (measure after chopping)
(I used mostly basil with just a few tablespoons of chopped oregano)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. fresh red pepper flakes (more of less to taste)

Drain mozzarella in a strainer placed in the sink while you wash and chop herbs. Be sure mozzarella is drained well, and pat dry with paper towels if needed.

Wash herbs, spin dry in salad spinner or blot dry with paper towels, then finely chop enough fresh herbs to make 1/2 cup. Mix chopped herbs with olive oil and red pepper flakes, and season with a generous amount of salt and fresh ground black pepperl

Put mozzarella pieces into a plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid, add olive oil mixture, and stir to combine. Put lid on container and marinate mozzarella at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, turning container over a few times so the mozzarella stays covered with the olive oil-herb mixture. Serve at room temperature.




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South Beach Suggestions:
Mozzarella is widely available in low-fat varieties, and these fresh mozzarella pearls that I got at Costco has only 5 grams of fat per ounce, making this a great appetizer for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. This would be great on an appetizer table with Farinata and Tuna Mousse.

More Ways to Use Fresh Basil:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette, and Fresh Herbs from Kalyn's Kitchen
Sauteed Zucchini with Spinach and Basil Pesto from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea Salad with Tomatoes, Olive, Basil, and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Basil Mint Parsley Pesto from Karina's Kitchen
Tomato Basil Quiche from Kitchen Parade
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini from Panini Happy
(Want even more basil recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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30 comments:

Dragon said...

This is a fantastic appetizer! I can't wait to try it.

Pearl said...

that looks like it'd be a major hit as an appetizer!

We Are Not Martha said...

This is such a good idea! Would be perfect with some fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes!

Sues

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Time for a run to Costco -- my herbs are ready for harvest, and this is just my kind of dish.

Trish said...

say...this is a break from the usual. What a great idea

Anh said...

Fantastic recipe, Kalyn. I will be making it once the weather gets warmer here.

Pille said...

Kalyn - mozzarella "cherries" (as they're known here, probably for their sizze) are great when marinated and then rolled up in a slice of zucchini (I've blogged about it here). And yes, basil and mozzarella are made for each other!

Graziana said...

I have mozzarella in the fridge and little basil plants in the garden... I guess I will prepare this recipe today!
Thank you for sharing this with WHB!

janemac said...

I've been serving mozzarella balls in home made pesto for years and it's always a hit. But I guess I've gotten in a rut. You've given me a push to try different combinations of fresh herbs and seasonings.

Patricia Scarpin said...

My kind of dish to nibble on having a cold beer - delicious, Kalyn!

Joanne said...

We call this bocconcini salad (little balls) in Italian. It's also great with some sun-dried tomatoes and olives. It's dangerously addictive though ;).

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I must admit that little mozzarella balls are quite addicting. It's probably, in part, the appeal of mini-food. The problem is, I'm not sure I could stop eating these ...

Kalyn said...

Love the suggestions. Love seeing how other people are using the little mozzarella balls, and I think marinating this in pesto is a brilliant idea for people who don't have fresh herbs, will try that for sure. And I love the idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes and olives too. Joanne, thanks for the Italian name. I'll add that to the post.

Maria said...

Another lovely salad with fresh mozzarella. I need to get those little balls of goodness!

Winnie said...

Looks heavenly Kalyn!

Cate O'Malley said...

Love fresh mozzarella and have some from a recent farmer's market trip - looks fabulous!

My Sensei said...

Love pearl mozz!! This really is a great delicious and quick app. With my huge Italian family and friends, they will for sure eat this right up - Thanks!

Cookin' Canuck said...

Perfect! I still have some of these bocconcini in my fridge and plenty of herbs in my garden. I will be trying this!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

What a perfect appetizer - Looks wonderful!

Quoizel said...

Ill have to try this appetizer out. Thanks for sharing!

Karina Allrich said...

So beautiful! Marinated mozzarella was always one of my favorites. Perfect for summer.

ASHLEA said...

Oh I love nothing more than fresh cheeses and the herbs make it look like the perfect summer dish!

Karine said...

Great way to use mozzarella!!!! :)

MeetaK said...

i've bookmarked this to make on the weekend! gorgeous!

Hillary said...

Yum! This would be great for a homemade bridal shower or something like that. Thank you for this great recipe!

Amy Green said...

I love fresh mozzarella. I first came across a variation of this years ago. It's so simple and delicious but so many people don't know how to use these ingredients. Your variaion looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!!

ejm said...

This looks delicious, Kalyn! Thanks for posting this great idea.

I'd love to try it exactly as you have but our basil is absolutely miniscule right now. However, last night, we garnished our fettucine alfredo with marjoram. Marjoram and cheese is fantastic!

-Elizabeth

Graziana said...

I posted today my mozzarella salad recipe... it was delicious. Thank you for being always an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

I cut cheese sticks and put them in this marinade. Afterwards I put cherry tomatoes on top skewed with a toothpick. Makes a great appetizer! If I have leftover basil, I'll skew a small piece in between. So yummy!

Kalyn said...

What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

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