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26 August 2011

Perline di Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Basil (Insalata Caprese)

Beautiful perline di mozzarella (mozzarella pearls).  I never saw them so small before.  I don't need to say that they immediately disappeared inside my basket while food shopping.  True, I have been searching the mozzarella section of every supermarket I go to the past months, looking for the mozzarella ciliegine to no avail.  They are the size of cherry tomatoes. 

At the supermarket once, as I was in my usual hunt for these mozzarella, a man was also rummaging through every stack I went through until we both realized that we were looking for the same thing.   He was clutching a grocery list that his wife apparently gave him.  I wondered, what if there was only one package?  From the impatient expression on his face, he would have put up a fight in taking away the mozzarella from my clutches.  Never mind my violent thoughts.  There were no small mozzarella balls anyway.

On rare moments when I am not in a frenzied state in the supermarket, I can't help noticing that it's quite a common sight to see men walking up and down the aisles holding a grocery list in one hand and a telephone in the other.  They either look desperate or exasperatedly gesticulating on the telephone speaking with obviously, the author of the list they are reading.   I felt guilty because I am one of the frequent authors of these lists too.  Having seen the other side, I pictured my poor husband going through his own paper squinting at my indecipherable handwriting.   I am considerate though when I write the things to buy because I group together the ones that can be found in one section.   I can't imagine the frustration of the other men when they find tomatoes at the beginning of the list then it jumps to tissue paper then milk, then veggies again.  It should be like treasure hunting without any treasure at the end.

Faced with the perline di mozzarella, I didn't need to work so much on my imagination on how to prepare them.  They are beautiful and inspiring.  I felt like making some sort of basil sauce instead of putting whole leaves.  Ok, the truth of the matter is,  I needed an excuse to try out my new Jamie Oliver granite mortar & pestle.  I am a big fan of that guy.  I applaud his decisiveness in his campaign for change in school dinners.  He has guts and determination in making his food revolution come to a successs.  He gained my respect on that.  We need to eat healthier food and it's never too late to start now.   

Perline di Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Basil (Insalata Caprese)

Serves 4
  • 400 grams perline di mozzarella (or any size of mozzarella)
  • 400 grams cherry tomatoes
  • a big handful of basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • dried oregano
  1. Pound the basil in a mortar & pestle or pulse in the food processor.  Transfer it to a bowl and mix with extra virgin olive oil & salt.  
  2. Add the mozzarella pearls & cherry tomatoes.  Mix.  Add more salt & extra virgin olive oil of still needed.   Sprinkle with dried oregano.
  3. Serve them in food sticks or just in a bowl. 


  1. I, too, share in your mozzarella-related frustrations. I was only able to find the pearls one time (they were too cute!) at our local grocery store. Apparently they just don't stock them anymore. At any rate, your photography is just beautiful!

  2. Hi Lauren! There seems to a shortage of these mozzarella pearls. I hope they produce more. They really are nice to prepare. Thanks a lot for dropping by!

  3. Beautiful salad, and lovely story. I can imagine being in that market - I think my husband is often one of those guys with the list in one hand and the phone in another!

  4. Hi Jessica. Men with shopping lists in their hands is really an iconic picture in the supermarkets, wherever that may be. It's amusing & pleasant to see. Thanks so much!

  5. Ha! Grouping you items on your shopping list is such a simple yet clever trick! Should be a no-brainer but it never occured to me. Thank you for the enlightment. ;)
    Those mozzarella pearls are just too cute but you are right, rather hard to find sometimes or at least in your ordinary little supermarkets. I used to serve something similar over a bed of rucola, before I delevoped an allergy...sob sob...farewell, favourite kind of salad. AMO the tomato/mozzarella/basil combo. ;)


  6. Tobias, I don't understand, what are you allergic to? Rucola or mozzarella? Just the same, both of them are wonderful together or separately. Poor you. Mozzarella, basil & tomatoes are really meant for each other.

  7. Wow! a tomato salad with mozzarella. I love the idea of eating lots of this since tomatoes of whatever type is our favorite.

  8. I am allergic to rucola, dear. :( At first I thought there was 'just' something wrong with the particular packaged I have purchased, but unfortunately not. It came from one day to another. Too bad but I can cope with it. ;)

  9. This is my favorite salad - I love that you crushed the basil before mixing it with the oil. Perfetto!

    1. It was a trial that seemed to have worked very well. As long as you don't make the basil sauce too much ahead because it tends to discolor.


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