Mozz salad with crostini 22


I spent this past weekend on the South Fork of Long Island.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining and bright flowers were popping up everywhere.   It really felt like spring. Strolling along the ocean in Sagaponack and along the bay beach in Sag Harbor it was not hard to imagine that in a couple of months the sand would be littered with bodies soaking up summer.

spring flowers 2

Sagaponack beach 2

Beach jump

I was invited to eat at a friend’s house and he asked me to bring an appetizer, something like a mozzarella tomato salad.  We are still months away from good local tomatoes on the East End, but I liked the idea of doing a mozzarella salad so I tried to think of something spring like to mix it with.  In a local cookbook, Savoring the Hamptons: Discovering the Food and Wine of Long Island’s East End, I found a recipe for a mozzarella fava bean salad.  I love fava beans in the spring (much like Carolina the chef profiled in my last post) from my time living in Rome.  But alas, out here it’s still too cold for fava beans to show up at the local farmer’s market.  I decided to substitute edamame for fava beans and add some fresh basil to the dried oregano that the recipe called for to liven it up.  I love the sweetness and texture of edamame, it is a perfect salad bean.  As a substitute for those plump, juicy tomatoes you get out here in the summer, I decided to get a bit decadent and slow roast some organic grape tomatoes from the grocery store to bring out their sweetness and then mix in some herbs and olives to make a kind of tapenade that I served over olive oil crostini.  It was a great out of season fake. In fact, I definitely see myself making this winning combination in the heat of summer with all the windows wide open to the outside.

Bike Sign
Buddha no crop


To complement the appetizer I picked up a bottle of local Wölffer Rosé.  Their new vintage for the year just started trickling out over these last weeks.  This local favorite can hold its own against rosés from all over the world.  It’s bright and crisp and not too sweet so it pairs really well with food.  This wine is so popular out here that by the end, or even a little before the end of every season the local restaurants and wine shops have completely sold out of it.  I love that, it makes waiting through winter for the new vintage all the more sweet.

Wolffer Estate

Vineyard compass

With all the lovely restaurants that feature local ingredients, the stretches of vineyards and beautiful organic farms just minutes away from the beach, I dare say that the East End of the Long Island is the Tuscany of the East Coast!  I think the tourism board should coin that. Then again anyone who has tried to get a dinner reservation, or park in town on a summer weekend might be against that. East End = Tuscany, it will be our secret.

Grape tomatoes

Mozzarella Salad 

MOZZARELLA EDAMAME SALAD WITH SLOW ROASTED TOMATO CROSTINI (inspired by a recipe in Savoring the Hamptons: Discovering the Food and Wine of Long Island’s East End from chef Jonathan Parker of The American Hotel in Sag Harbor) I used fresh buffalo milk mozzarella in this recipe.  If you would like to substitute a local fresh mozzarella, it will probably be a lot less soft and liquid, so you can marinate the mozzarella in the olive oil and oregano for 30 minutes to an hour before adding the other ingredients.

 Serves 6

For the Mozzarella Salad:
1 cup shelled edamame beans
500g fresh buffalo milk mozzarella (or local fresh mozzarella) cut into chunks
2 teaspoons oregano
a pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lemon zested
ground black pepper
shredded basil leaves to garnish

Boil edamame for a few minutes, run under cold water and cool.

Season mozzarella with oregano and a pinch of salt.  Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with lemon zest and a couple grindings of black pepper.  Sprinkle the edamame on top and garnish with shredded basil leaves.

For the Crostini:
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
a sprig of rosemary, plus 2 teaspoons chopped
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped kalamata olives (optional)
2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar (if the quality of the balsamic vinegar you are using is not great, you could simmer it gently and reduce it to make it sweeter, or just use half the amount of vinegar)
olive oil crackers or thinly sliced baguette drizzled with olive oil and then toasted

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Place the tomatoes, the rosemary and the garlic on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and a couple pinches of salt, shake the pan to coat evenly and then turn the tomatoes face down.  Cook for 1 ½ hours and then cool.

When the tomatoes are cool put them in a bowl, add herbs (and olives if you are using them) and mix, gently squashing the tomatoes.  Serve the tomatoes over olive oil crackers or baguette.

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