One of my favorite things is a roll of mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil. BelGioioso makes a great one, which is sometimes hard for me to find. I thought I’d give this a try on my next batch of mozzarella. It turns out making a roll like this is really easy, the only serious problem being that I had trouble getting the cheese flat enough.
I started with about ¼ of a batch of mozzarella, which I think is about 4 oz. I made this with the recipe from the kit, in which I’ve taken to tripling the salt content so I use 1 tbsp. of salt instead of 1 tsp. Once the cheese was all ready, I carefully nuked up the quarter batch on a plate, just a little bit at a time until it was workable, and tried to press it into a rectangular shape, as thin as I could get it without a roller.
On a sheet of plastic wrap I laid down two pieces of prosciutto. These were about, oh, 3 inches wide by about 6 long. I’m probably off by a bit but darned if I’m gonna go downstairs and measure. I put them next to each other on the long side, but laid them both at a slight angle, maybe about 20°, like books leaning over onto each other. I laid the cheese, which was about the same size but a bit longer, crosswise over them. Then I sprinkled a little basil from my spice jar onto one (long) edge of the cheese, and started rolling from that side, using the plastic wrap to help me and tucking in the excess prosciutto on either end. Once it was all rolled up I made sure the plastic wrapping was tight, and threw it into the fridge.
Now the results.
The roll ended up skinnier than the one I buy in the store. This wouldn’t have been the case if I could’ve gotten the cheese a little wider and thinner. In that case I might’ve needed more prosciutto, but I’m just not sure. I didn’t get the nice spiral action out of this I was expecting, because the cheese was just too thick; it got maybe one little swirl, which was nice but could have been better. Next time I’ll let it get a little warmer and I’ll probably get a mini roller, and try for more of a square shape so I have more to roll. The 4 oz. amount of cheese was right on the money. The roll firmed up great in the fridge and sliced about as nicely as the ones I’m used to buying, which was wonderful.
For flavor, I found two problems: First, fresh basil really is the way to go with this; it tastes better and isn’t quite as overpowering. The other problem I had was that my adjustment to the cheese recipe was, in this case, counter-productive. Using the original 1 tsp. of salt in the cheese probably would have been better for this application, as a milder flavor is desirable. If I do a mixed batch again I’ll just use less salt on whatever portion I set aside for this. In spite of these issues the result is quite tasty; I just think I can do better. And though I’m not necessarily sure it’ll pair as well with the prosciutto, I’m strongly considering just infusing some oil with the spices I normally use as a marinade, and brushing it on the whole slab of cheese before rolling.
More experimentation is needed. As the wise man said, those are good problems.
As for the rest of this third batch, I cut up some into chunks for marination because I absolutely love that, but I didn’t go nuts trying to form them into nice little balls because that never works out anyway. Another portion of the batch I saved out as regular mozzarella to use on whatever, which should be really nice with the higher salt content. My intent was to use about half the batch for regular cheese but I’m pretty sure it’s less than that.
Now I need even more plans for this cheese.
During Christmas vacation I like to make my favorite sandwich, which is teriyaki-marinated cube steak with sliced Muenster cheese, mushrooms sautéed in garlic and Worcestershire sauce, grated mozzarella, and bacon, on a Kaiser roll. This year I’m planning to do the steak via sous vide for a bit first so I don’t have to burn the outside to get it to cook through. But I’m also thinking my own mozzarella will make a nice treat on here, if it doesn’t add too much to the workload.
Meanwhile I haven’t tired a bit of the marinade: Equal parts parsley, oregano, and basil, with several cloves of garlic, for a partial recipe. The marinated cheese I did for Thanksgiving came off really well, so I’ll probably bring a batch along for any New Year’s Eve festivities. Making mozzarella really is a blast. It’s so easy. I like easy. And hey, it’s a terrific snack.