A great mozzarella and tomato salad
1 pound fresh mozzarella at room temperature
1 fresh tomato (about 1/4 pound)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
12 fresh arugula leaves, torn into large pieces
coarse salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Cut the mozzarella into 16 slices, each approximately 1/4 inch thick. Arrange 4 slices at the center of an ovenproof dinner plate, overlapping them slightly. Repeat with 3 more plates. Place the plates in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the mozzarella looks soft and moist. (Do not allow it to melt.)
3. While the mozzarella is warming, stem the tomato and chop it into small dice. Mix with the oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
4. When the mozzarella is softened, immediately top the cheese with the arugula leaves, scattering the leaves evenly. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Place one fourth of the tomato mixture at the center of each plate. Serve immediately.
We have the secret for resuscitating too-old mozzarella: warm it briefly in the oven. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. And if your tomatoes are less than perfect, you can take the focus away from their imperfection by chopping them and dressing them. This is a great mozzarella and tomato salad when you don't have great mozzarella and tomato. Serves 4 as a first course