This week, I spent an hour with the chef and owner of Corso 32 and Bar Bricco, discussing, and eating, buffalo mozzarella. I have never personally cooked with the slick, white balls packed in brine. But on my first trip to Italy three years ago, I tasted the cheese, fresh, in the country from which it hails. It was a creamy-soft, and heady, experience that feels too distant now to even be described, like trying to remember what it was like to brush my lips across the downy heads of my babies. Since Italy, I have been thinking about the cheese, and wondering how to get it into my life without the expense of another trip.
Buffalo mozzarella is served in salads, with bread, in calzones or on pizza. Of course, you could also lift it straight from its briny bath and eat the cheese with your hands. At Bar Bricco, Costa serves buffalo mozzarella only as a special when local, juicily sweet tomatoes are available, for about three months in the late summer and early fall. He takes the tomatoes, and tosses them gently with fresh basil, a lick of olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Then he gently tears the ball of mozzarella in half, exposing its ragged interior, and lays it alongside the vegetables. A generous portion of baguette from Bonjour Bakery appears alongside the salad, to mop up the juices and the olive oil.
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