Yid.Dish: Israeli Caprese Salad

By Leah Koenig

Published August 08, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

I made mozzarella cheese last night. This is not a shechechiyanu moment – I’ve done it before, using this, highly recommended, cheese making kit. But every time I accomplish the feat of turning a gallon of milk into two fistfuls of salty, stretchy, kosher cheese, it feels rather profound.

JCarrot

It also feels a little wasteful, as in, “I go to the trouble of pouring a whole gallon of milk into a pot, heating it 88 degrees, and stirring in vegetable rennet, and this is the thanks I get? A bunch of wasted whey?” I know I could probably save the whey that separates from the cheese curds, and use it for a million different things (suggestions welcome). But aside from pouring about 1 cup worth into my grateful plants, I dumped the rest of it down the drain. I thought my roommates might not appreciate two large Tupperwares full of yellow cheese-water crowding up the fridge.

So why did I go to all this trouble to make my own cheese? Well, to impress my Shabbat guests, of course – and also to make an “Israeli caprese salad,” which is a simple tweak on the Italian classic of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, but might just be an entirely new creation.

Perhaps I should say a shechechiyanu afterall?

Israeli Caprese Salad Caprese salad originated in the Italian region of Campania, and is one of those simple, classic recipes that has existed, mostly unchanged, for a long time. I shook a liberal amount of the Middle Eastern spice za’atar on top, which added a delicious element of savory complexity…dare I say umami?

1 medium sized ball, fresh mozzarella

15 fresh basil leaves, washed

2 ripe heirloom tomatoes

1 Tbs Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp za’atar

sea salt / fresh pepper

Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Slice the tomatoes the same way and remove the seeds. Arrange mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes on a plate – you can do this any way you’d like, but the traditional way is to layer them in an alternating pattern. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar, salt, and pepper. (See below – note, that’s not my caprese below. My slightly more humble-looking, but very tasty cheese is pictured above.)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.