Marinated Mozzarella with Avocado

This is very pretty and very summery, but it is dependent on getting hold of good-quality mozzarella. Buffalo mozzarella is the best, but failing that the full-fat cheese made from cow's milk has a lovely creamy texture.

Serves 2 as a snack lunch

This recipe is from Delia's Summer Collection

Marinated Mozzarella with Avocado
 4 oz (110 g) mozzarella cheese
 1 medium ripe avocado
 strip of red pepper, 1 x 3 inches (2.5 x 7.5 cm)
 about 18 fresh basil leaves
 2 spring onions, finely chopped
For the vinaigrette dressing:
 1 small clove garlic
 1 level teaspoon sea salt
 1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder
 1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
 5 dessertspoons olive oil
 1 dessertspoon snipped fresh chives
 Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Start to prepare the salad about 2 hours before you need it (but no longer as the cheese then begins to soften too much). Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch (5mm) slices; then halve the avocado, remove and discard the stone and skin, and thinly slice each half.

Now arrange the mozzarella and avocado on a serving plate with alternate slices overlapping each other.

Next slice the strip of red pepper into the finest shreds possible, starting from the narrow 1 inch (2.5 cm) end, then pile the basil leaves on top of each other and slice these into similar shreds and scatter both basil and pepper over the cheese and avocado.

Make up the dressing by crushing the garlic and salt together with a pestle and mortar, and work the mustard powder into the pureed garlic and salt followed by plenty of freshly milled pepper.

Stir in the vinegar, oil and chives, then pour the dressing into a screw-top jar and shake vigorously before pouring it over the other ingredients on the plate.

Cover with an upturned plate or some foil and leave to marinate for 2 hours. Serve with ciabatta.

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