Inspiration for many of my recipes comes from my observations of what's available in regions of Italy that I visit. Molise and Campania are two of my favorites, where you can be sure to get some of the best artisanal cheeses like buffalo mozzarella and scamorza. Scamorza is a cow's milk cheese similar in testure to mozzarella and takes its name from its pear or "dunce-cap" shape. It is tied around the top with string and when smoked has a brown rind.
Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 large lemons
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 small eggplant, stemmed, cut into 1/2-inch rounds, and quartered
1 small cauliflower, cut into 1-inch flowerets
1 large red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
6 cloves garlic, peeled
12 spring onions, bulb only, left whole
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup cubed scamorza or mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar and set aside.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Toss the eggplant, cauliflower, peppers, garlic and onion in a large zip-lock bag with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet and roast them for abut 10 minutes, or just until the eggplant begins to soften and the cauliflower begins to brown. Turn the vegetables once during the cooking time.
Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and cheese and gently toss everything with the dressing.
Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Serve at room temperature.
Note: Save time by making the dressing and cubing the cheese and storing it in the refrigerator for several days. Seed, cut into chunks, and refrigerate the peppers a day ahead.
Variation: Adding canned chickpeas or cannellini beans boosts the protein in this salad.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.
Variation: Adding canned chickpeas or cannellini beans boost the protein in this salad.
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