The balance of flavours and textures in this clever fruity dish is out of this world, making for a wonderful alternative to your typical green salad
IMAGE: SAM FOLAN
If cheese served with fruit is an obvious combination, mozzarella with roast peaches is the stand-out – new kitchen basic – option. Buy best-quality mozzarella (buffalo is ideal, or use burrata) to accompany the fruit. My favourite fruit for this is peaches, but any ripe stone fruit will work. Roasted, the fruit turns sweet and extra-luscious, with the creamy, lactic mozzarella offering up superb balance. The torn and toasted ciabatta gives good bulk to this sultry, summery recipe, but omit the bread if you prefer.
Mozzarella with Roast Stone Fruit
- 4 ripe peaches, nectarines, red plums or apricots halved and stoned (or about 400g stoned cherries)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon runny honey or caster sugar
- 1/2 loaf ciabatta or similar-style bread crusts removed and torn into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for toasting
- pinch of chilli flakes optional
- 250 g buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn into 8 pieces
- small bunch of basil leaves picked and roughly torn if large
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a baking dish with baking paper.
- Arrange the fruit cut-side up in the lined baking dish and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, along with the honey or sugar. Roast for about 15–20 minutes, or until the tops of the fruit begin to bubble and char at the edges, and syrupy juices form in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a separate baking dish, mix the bread with a good measure of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Bake for about 8–10 minutes in the hot oven, until the bread is nicely toasted.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining vinegar, along with any juices left over from roasting the fruit, and the chilli flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper.
- On a large serving dish, arrange the peaches (or other fruit) and toasted bread and pour over the dressing. Add the mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.
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