When my husband Ted saw the jar of marinated mozzarella with slow-roasted tomato in the refrigerator, he laughed and said it looked like brains. In fact, it’s just the opposite: a no-brainer appetizer that takes two minutes to prepare, and a few days to marinate in the refrigerator. No cooking, no fussing. During the busy holiday entertaining season, it helps to have a few easy appetizers in your repertoire. You can keep these in the refrigerator for a week, while they soak up more and more of the garlicky tomato and herb flavor. Serve the mozzarella as an appetizer, with crackers or toasted bread; or, toss the cheese with pasta for a quick weeknight dinner, or press into panini sandwiches with some peppery arugula.
Marinated mozzarella with garlic and slow-roasted tomatoes
Makes 2 cups.
2/3 lb small mozzarella balls, rinsed in cold water and drained
1 clove garlic, slivered
3 slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomatoes, sliced into strips lengthwise
1/8 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp mild red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
Sprigs of fresh fennel fronds
Extra virgin olive oil, to cover
Combine everything in a clean glass jar, and cover with olive oil. Stir gently to distribute the ingredients.
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 3 weeks. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.