Pizza Today - June 2017 - 43

C

aprese: This term means different
things to many different people.
But pizza people know that this
magnificent combination of mozzarella, tomato and basil is special
in so many ways. For me, it's a giant 5 a.m.
creation every summer Saturday morning.
This is the time I clear the 12-foot
makeline and grab the six-inch ciabatta
buns that have cooled. Lined up and cut
with my sharp serrated knife, I open them
like 40 bread butterflies. I then bring large
trays of Amish grown German Pink tomatoes, fresh cut fior di latte mozzarella and
bundles of fresh basil and start stuffing like
a car assembly line. Once finished, I take a
large box of extra virgin olive oil and let the
stream blast all the way down the line right
before showering them with coarse sea salt.
These are my ciabatta sandwiches and they
are a great bargain for my customers. In
return, I will sell all 40 of them in an hour.
Caprese gets its name of salad in
the style of Capri, which is located
between the Gulf of Naples and
North of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This

salad is popular in the hot summer with the
buffalo mozzarella so popular in Campania
paired with fresh basil and tomato.
There are many ways a restaurateur can
take advantage of this phenomenal flavor
profile because it pairs perfectly with wheat
in all its forms -- like on a pizza Margherita or tossed in giant bowl of pasta. In this
modern age, chefs are veering off the traditional Caprese path and into exciting new
variations by manipulating the style, texture
and fabrication of these three ingredients.
There are a few variations on the Caprese
theme. One of the most prevalent is the
manipulation of the tomato, such as:
* Oven drying. Thick-fleshed tomatoes
baked low and slow at 225 F for a few hours
is a sure way to concentrate flavors. If you
cut the tomato core out before drying, the
tomato takes on a visually stunning petal
when the skin is removed. Place these petals
on a plate around small Ciliegine (or cherry
sized) mozzarella and ribbons of fresh basil
for a beautiful Caprese "flower."
* Shocking or blanching summer cherry
tomatoes is simpler than it sounds. First,
cut an "X" in the bottom of each tomato.
Immerse in boiling water for less than one
minute and then throw into another bowl

of ice water. The "X" will curl up the skin
and be easy to pull off. These tomatoes are
perfect for a toss in extra virgin olive oil or
tomato water.
* Inside out is an awesome "outside the
box" preparation for the tomato interior. I
select giant, ripe Cherokee Purple, Yellow
Stipey or Beefheart tomatoes that have a
large seed sack inside. Cut in half and gently
cut the middle out with a hooked paring
knife. These can be gently macerated in
extra virgin olive oil, one cut garlic clove
and ripped leaves of basil for two hours. By
trimming the ends flat, you can lay this up
like tomato caviar on a plate of sliced mozzarella and more fresh basil for real "tomato
caviar."
Sometimes just cutting fresh
mozzarella slices can be boring.
Here are ways you can pounce on
your competitors with a little bit of
playful mozza craziness:

* Mozzarella fettuccine: We love doing
this for cold passed hors d'oeuvres if you
make your own fresh mozzarella. Simply
heat and meld the mozzarella curd until
cheese occurs and then place the still malleable mozzarella on a cold stainless steel
table, cover with plastic wrap and flatten
with a rolling pin. Place in an ice-cold water
bowl to cool. Take out and trim. Oil and
roll up and cut with a sharp knife or on a
ciatarra (Italian pasta cutter). The thin pasta
strips can be tossed with diced tomato and
basil chiffonade.
* Diced mozzarella Caprese with avocado.
This is a real stunner. By dicing mozzarella,
tomatoes and avocado into half-inch cubes,
you can place the pieces like a Rubik's Cube
on a plate and drizzle with basil pesto and
extra virgin olive oil with sea salt.

Fried Caprese Nuggets
This recipe is from an OMG moment I had at
Trattoria la Casetta in Brisighella, Italy. It is very
simple but can easily be made if your pizzeria has
a deep fryer.
1 large summer tomato diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh mozzarella, torn in small strips
5 to 7 fresh basil leaves torn in pieces
10 to 12 ounces of your proprietary pizza
dough
Coarse sea salt as needed

Shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Thin sliced Prosciutto di Parma or other
charcuterie
Toss the tomato, one tablespoon extravirgin olive oil, mozzarella and basil in a bowl.
Heat vegetable or (preferably peanut) oil
to 350 F.
Roll out the dough to ¼-inch thick and then
cut with a pizza cutter. (For a more
elegant edge cut, use a serrated dough cutter
or a calzone crimper.) Fry the pieces until
golden brown. This should not take long, as
they will puff up right away.
When the dough is done, toss the other
ingredients with the dough, letting the mozzarella lightly melt. Add more extra virgin olive
oil if needed, and sprinkle with ParmigianoReggiano. Serve with prosciutto di Parma
slices or salami for a full entrée. n
JOHN GUTEKANST owns Avalanche Pizza
in Athens, Ohio, and has a pizza blog called
Pizza Goon. He is an award-winning
pizzaiolo, baker, teacher, speaker and
author.

Other ingredients can
pair perfectly with
Caprese. Here are a few:
anchovies

crab

black pepper

shallot

olives

arugula

roasted red pepper

cucumber

roasted garlic

fennel

pancetta

cilantro

guanciale

chili peppers

lardo

hazelnuts

radicchio

lemon

prosciutto di Parma

fava bean

Serrano ham

thyme

Parmesan

vinegar

balsamic glaze

oregano

ricotta

watermelon

Pecorino

strawberry

eggplant
artichoke
avocado
oregano
J U N E 2 0 1 7 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / 4 3


http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - June 2017

Pizza Today - June 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Turn Down the Sound
Pizza Style Guide
Adding Sustainable Food
Caprese Across the Menu
Employee Reviews
Increasing Check Averages
Pizza Today on the Road: Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT
Pizza Today on the Road: The Original Vazzy’s, Bridgeport, CT
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - June 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - June 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today - June 2017
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - June 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Turn Down the Sound
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Style Guide
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 36
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Adding Sustainable Food
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 40
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Caprese Across the Menu
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Employee Reviews
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 46
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Increasing Check Averages
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 50
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 54
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 56
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: The Original Vazzy’s, Bridgeport, CT
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 67
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 70
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - June 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 78
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover4
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