Mozzarella, tomato and basil have always been a vital part of the Italian culinary experience, and in this dish, these ancient tastes find a different expression of themselves. Thanks to technique, the tomato, Mozzarella and basil in this dish can surprise diners in its visionary composition, confound expectations and deliver them a unique treat that merges original tastes with something never experienced before. 

For the Mozzarella Sphere

Ingredients:

  • 500g isomalt sugar
  • 30g water

Method:

  1. Bring the isomalt sugar to a temperature of 180°C.
  2. Remove from the heat and with the aid of a ladle, add the water.
  3. Pour the mixture on a rubber mat.
  4. With this, work the still warm sugar and mix well by folding many times on itself, until you get the satin effect.
  5. Blow the mass while still hot (90°-100°C) using a manual air pump to inflate like a balloon. The mass needs to be inflated until it becomes a ball with a thin surface.
  6. Allow to cool and create an opening in the base which will be used later to insert the mozzarella foam.

For the Mozzarella Foam

Ingredients:

  • 250g buffalo mozzarella
  • 125g fresh whole milk latte intero
  • 250g fresh foam
  • 100g albumen
  • 6g leaves of gelatine

Method:

  1. Soak the gelatin in cold water.
  2. Blend in a mixer the mozzarella cut into cubes and milk until it becomes a smooth and creamy foam.
  3. Add the egg whites and cream, blend only for a few moments without mounting the compound. Pass through a fine sieve.
  4. Dissolve the gelatin in a small part of the mozzarella compound and add it to all the rest.
  5. Pass through a fine sieve again, then fill the siphon and load it with two cans of gas. Let stand for two hours in the refrigerator before using.

For the Tomato Coulis

Ingredients:

  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 200g “piennulo” tomatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • Oil, salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Finely chop the shallots and cook it gently in a saucepan.
  2. On a high heat, add the three varieties of tomatoes previously cut into quarters and cook for a few minutes turning frequently. Add salt and pepper, and continue cooking slowly for 15 minutes.
  3. Move the saucepan from the heat and infuse the bunch of basil.
  4. Add the mixture to an emulsifying mixer and blend the sauce with adding the oil, obtaining a creamy texture.
  5. Pass it through a Chinese strainer and then put it in a blast chiller to reduce the temperature.

For the Basil Emulsion

Ingredients:

  • 100g basil blanched (bleached)
  • 80g grated parmesan cheese
  • 100g  toasted pine nuts
  • 20g  grated pecorino cheese
  • 80g Olive oil

Method:

  1. Blanch the basil in salted water, then cool it in ice water, drain it and wring out all the excess water.
  2. Once you have 100 grams of “blanched basil”, add it into a container with all the other ingredients and mix it well.
  3. Fill up a pacojet container and put it in the blast chiller to lower the temperature to -20°C.
  4. Place all the emulsion in the pacojet,  and put it back into the blast chiller.
  5. Shortly before using, put the mixture into the pacojet a second time and then pass it through the fine-mesh sieve with the help of a spatula.
  6. Store the emulsion in a pastry bag.

For the Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon zest
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Peel the tomatoes, blanch them for a few seconds and then cool them quickly in ice water.
  2. Cut them in half and lay them on a plate with parchment paper, making sure to place them all with the pulp facing upwards.
  3. Place the thyme, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper on the tomatoes, then sprinkle with icing sugar.
  4. Allow the tomatoes to wilt gently in an oven at 50°C for three hours with the valve open.

For the Bread Croutons

Ingredients:

  • 200g “cafone” bread
  • Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Cut the bread into cubes of 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan with a little olive oil.
  3. Brown the bread cubes evenly and then transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

For the Mozzarella Cubes

Ingredients:

  • 100g mozzarella cheese

Method:

  1. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes measuring 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm in size

For the Anchovy Fillets

Ingredients:

  • Two salted cetara anchovies

Method:

  1. De-salt the anchovies, clean them and set aside the fillets.
  2. Cut the fillets into small pieces.

For the Mozzarella Foam

Ingredients:

  • 300g mozzarella cheese
  • 400g mozzarella cheese serum

Method:

  1. Cut the mozzarella into pieces.
  2. Fill a container for the pacoject put the serum of mozzarella inside.
  3. Break it down to -20°C.
  4. Put it in the blast chiller to quickly lower the temperature.
  5. Then break down (with the blast chiller) and put it again in the pacojet in order to obtain a consistency like “snow”.

To Serve:

  1. Lay the tomato coulis, the croutons of bread, candied tomatoes, cubes of mozzarella, the fillets of anchovies and the emulsion of pesto on the bottom of the plate.
  2. Put on the top the sphere of mozzarella filled with the foam, then the mozzarella foam “snow”.
  3. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil, Maldon salt, pepper mignonette and finally, some shoots of basil.

Recipe Courtesy of Andrea Aprea of 2 Michelin-starred VUN Andrea Aprea.
Andrea Aprea Chef Feature.

Image © Park Hyatt Milan.