This is an absolutely genius combination. It’s not very often that mozzarella gets cooked in a credible way but this is one time it does. I love the whole idea of putting the bread, mozzarella and smoky bacon together because when cooked they complement each other so well — the bread goes really crisp and soaks up all the lovely juices, the milky mozzarella starts to melt and go really gooey, and served with a fresh herb salad it’s lovely. Great for a starter or a snack, and I’ve even made little mini ones as canapés (dare I say that word?!).
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
- 8 rashers of thinly sliced dry-cured smoky bacon, or pancetta
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 4 large buffalo mozzarella cheeses
- 8 sticks of fresh rosemary
- 1 clove of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (chives, chervil, mint, basil, parsley)
- 1 good handful of nice black olives, stones removed (pitted)
- 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the crusts from the ciabatta and tear up into rough 2.5cm/1 inch pieces. Throw into a bowl with the bacon and lemon zest. Divide each mozzarella into 8 similar-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Keeping the leaf tips on the rosemary sticks, remove the lower leaves and then smash these up in a pestle and mortar with the garlic. Stir in 8 tablespoons of olive oil, then pour this mixture over the bread, cheese and bacon. Marinate for anything from 15 minutes to an hour.
Thread your mozzarella and bread on to your rosemary sticks, weaving the bacon in and around. Line up the kebabs on a wire rack and place under the grill on a very high heat until the bread and bacon are golden and crisp and the mozzarella is nice and gooey.
While this is grilling make sure you keep an eye on it, as it can turn into a charred kebab very quickly. To make the dressing, chop up the olives and mix with the chilli, 5 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the same of olive oil. Season to taste.
To serve the kebabs, dress the herbs with half of the olive dressing right at the last minute so the leaves stay nice and fresh, then use the other half of the dressing drizzled over the kebabs.
Try this: Do exactly the same as above but swap the mozzarella for cubes of fresh white fish such as haddock, cod or monkfish.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, and using 4, 1lb balls of mozzarella cheese.