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Crispy Mozzarella & Summer Tomato Salad

Menu PartSalad
Cuisine TypeAmerican

Executive Chef Rhys Lewis

Woodstock Inn

Woodstock, Vt.

Fresh mozzarella, garden tomatoes and basil have long shared the culinary stage in summer. To change it up a bit, chef Rhys Lewis crisps up small mozzarella balls (ciliegine) for a contrast in texture and temperature, then highlights the salad with creamy mascarpone to complement the bright acid of the tomatoes. Drizzles of pesto and balsamic reduction complete the dish. All the components can be made ahead and kept chilled.


Crisp mozzarella

½ cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

16 oz. fresh mozzarella ciliegine

1 egg, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Herbed mascarpone

6 oz. mascarpone cheese

1 sprig fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed and chopped

Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste


4 sprigs fresh basil, stemmed

4 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

Cider balsamic reduction

½ cup apple cider

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. brown sugar


1 pt. heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half

4 leaves mache or other garden-fresh lettuce


  1. For mozzarella: In bowl, measure flour and season with salt and pepper. Toss mozzarella in flour mixture, coating all sides. Toss in beaten egg, then bread crumbs; refrigerate until well chilled.
  2. For mascarpone: In small bowl, combine mascarpone with chopped rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until well chilled.
  3. For pesto: In food processor, combine basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil; puree for 30 seconds or until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. For balsamic reduction: In small, heavy-bottomed stainless-steel saucepan, combine cider and balsamic vinegar. Place over medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Cool slightly, then taste the reduction, adjusting sugar or vinegar as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. For service, using a small, dull knife, spread mascarpone in center of four plates. Heat vegetable oil to 350 F. Quickly fry coated mozzarella for 30 seconds until golden; arrange over mascarpone. Arrange tomatoes on plate with mache. Dot plate with basil pesto and balsamic reduction; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photo courtesy of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese

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