I confess. We love appetizers. There’s something great about a small plate of things. You eat a little, you drink some wine. You slow down a little and get ready to truly enjoy the main meal. It’s. . .kinda civilized!
One appetizer I love dearly is marinated cheese. You can marinate most any fresh, firm cheese – I like to marinate fresh Mozzarella. And marinated cheese plays beautifully with so many other things you can put on a plate, like charcuterie, fresh sliced veggies (crudites), citrus segments, citrus zest, lots of fresh herbs – marinated Mozzarella is just a compatible kind of appetizer ingredient.
Good quality fresh mozza, however, is pretty pricey. I quiver at the minute, 8-oz packages selling at our local supermarkets for about 5 bucks. You’d need at least 2 of them to make a decent amount for marinating.
That’s one reason I love CostCo! They don’t just stock good quality olive oil by the jumbo, 5 gallon pack, they also offer great quality fresh, pre-sliced mozzarella logs (sold as 2 1-lb. logs per package, each individually wrapped) that can, with minimal work and a little waiting time, be transformed into gorgeous marinated mozzarella.
Full disclosure, I have zero, zip, nada interest in CostCo, except that I shop there.
Using a log of CostCo mozzarella, preparing a couple of pints of marinated cheese takes about 10 minutes and a little patience. Here’s how:
Ingredients (you’ll need)
- 1 log of CostCo fresh mozzarella (or the equivalent – basically 1 lb. of fresh mozzarella)
- 3/4 C. good quality olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt (the mozza is already salty)
- A handful of chopped fresh herbs like oregano, mint, tarragon, thyme
- 5 or more cloves garlic, sliced into very thin slices
- 1/2 a lemon’s rind, sliced into very thin (julienne) slices
- 1 T. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 2 12 oz. or 1 pint mason jars or other glass, sealable container. If you’re making this ahead for a specific meal or event, you could marinate them in a good quality, sealable plastic refrigerator container.
Cut the logs in half lengthwise, rotate the log, then cut it in half again, lengthwise (you’re cutting the pre-sliced pieces into four even chunks).
Heat the olive oil in a small heavy pot until it’s pretty hot
Toss in the garlic and shake or stir for about 1 minute until it’s quite fragrant. If it browns just a tiny bit that’s OK, but you really aren’t trying to brown it, so keep an eye on it.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit.
Add the vinegar, the sliced lemon rind and the chopped herbs to the pot and mix everything.
Put the chunks of mozza into your container(s).
Pour the marinade over them. Make sure the marinade penetrates through all the bits of mozza. You can use the handle of a wooden spoon (that’s what I did) to tease apart the bits and make sure there is good marinade coverage.
Seal the container.
Put it in the refrigerator for at least 5 days.
That’s it, it’s ready.
Serve by bringing the container from the fridge and letting it come to room temperature. Arrange on a plate with your other appetizer bits – suggestions include charcuterie, crudites, citrus segments, halved grape tomatoes, lots of fresh herbs.
So good, so easy and, thanks to CostCo for making a large chunk of good quality fresh mozzarella both affordable *and* pre-sliced, so inexpensive to make!!
Try some and let me know how it turns out.