Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes in the USA

A serving of Mozzarella and Tomatoes

Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes in the USA

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella di Bufala della Campania
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

How to make Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes

The preparation is effortless, easy, and straightforward.

Slice the tomatoes into thick slices.

Put them on a plate, with a slice of mozzarella di bufala on top.

Dress with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

The shape of the tomatoes from the Farmer’s market can be irregular: it’s how they taste that counts!

What do you need to make a perfect Pomodori e mozzarella

  • 1 – the tomatoes are better if they come from the farmer’s market. The tomatoes available in most USA supermarkets have been grown for their look, not for how they taste.
  • 2 – make sure that the mozzarella di bufala comes from the Campania region of Italy: there is a sale of mozzarella produced in the South American Andes in many supermarkets. While it’s not bad at all, it’s not the same. You cannot compare the two. For example, three supermarket chains sell South American buffalo mozzarella in the DC area where I live. Only one specialty store (that I am aware of) sells the real Buffalo mozzarella from Campania: Rodman’s.
  • 3 – Use ONLY extra virgin olive oil. The quality of the oil is paramount to the success of this simple dish. The better is the oil, the better the dish. As you can see from the picture, I used “Antichi Uliveti del Prato,” a specialty extra virgin olive oil produced in Sardinia by a small farm. It is available in North America online from Gustiamo.com. Its exquisite taste enhances the dish, but any excellent extra virgin olive oil would be acceptable.
Campaia Bufalo – Stephen Sommerhalter CC BY 3.0

Mozzarella di bufala della Campania : Why?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buffalo mozzarella (Italian: mozzarella di bufala; Neapolitan: muzzarella ‘e vufera) is made from the milk of Italian Mediterranean buffalo. It is a dairy product traditionally manufactured in Campania, especially in the provinces of Caserta and Salerno.

The term mozzarella derives from the procedure called mozzare, which means “cutting by hand,” separating from the curd, and serving in individual pieces, that is, the process of separating the curd into small balls. It is appreciated for its versatility and elastic texture and is often called “the queen of the Mediterranean cuisine,” “white gold,” or “the pearl of the table.”

The buffalo mozzarella sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana has been granted the status of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC – “Controlled designation of origin”) since 1993. Since 1996 it is also protected under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin or DOP Denominazione di Origine Protetta scheme. The protected origin’s appellation requires that it may only be produced with a traditional recipe in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia, and Molise.

Mozzarella di Bufala della Campania – Popo le Chien CC BY-SA 3.0

History in Italy

The history of water buffalo in Italy is not settled. One theory is that Asian water buffalo were brought to Italy by Goths during the migrations of the early medieval period. However, according to the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the “most likely hypothesis” is that Normans introduced them from Sicily in 1000 and that Arabs had introduced them into Sicily. The Consorzio per la Tutela also refers to fossil evidence (the prehistoric European Water Buffalo, Bubalus murrensis) suggesting water buffalo may have originated in Italy. A fourth theory is that water buffalo were brought from Mesopotamia into the Near East by Arabs and then introduced into Europe by pilgrims and returning crusaders.

“In ancient times, the buffalo was a familiar sight in the countryside, since it was widely used as a draught animal in plowing compact and watery terrains, both because of its strength and the size of its hooves, which do not sink too deeply into moist soils.”

References to cheese products made from water buffalo milk appeared for the first time at the beginning of the twelfth century. Buffalo mozzarella became widespread throughout the south of Italy from the second half of the eighteenth century, before which it had been produced only in small quantities.

Production in and around Naples was briefly interrupted during World War II when retreating German troops slaughtered the area’s water buffalo herds. They recommenced a few years after the armistice was signed.

Pomodori e mozzarella – Mozzarella and tomatoes in the USA is a regional Recipe from Campania made in the USA.

Chicken Milanese in the USA – Pollo alla Milanese

My 15-year-old granddaughter Mia is preparing “Nonno’s chicken by Mia.”

Chicken Milanese in the USA – Pollo alla Milanese

This dish is known in my family as “Nonno’s chicken” because I perfected its execution, resisting the requests to lower the oil temperature: you need it very hot!

Now, my 15-year-old granddaughter, Mia, learned how to prepare it, and, therefore, we call it “Nonno’s chicken by Mia.” Here is what you need to prepare:

Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts
  • one or two eggs
  • bread crumbs – PLAIN not flavored!
  • vegetable oil
  • lemon slices

Preparation:

  • Beat the eggs in one dish
  • Slice the chicken very thin
  • Prepare the bread crumbs in a second dish
  • Pass the chicken in the beaten eggs
  • Pass them in the bread crumbs
  • Heat the oil very hot
  • Put the chicken in the hot oil, and cook it until they are colored
  • Take out and put on a plate covered with paper that will absorb the oil
  • Serve with a side of lemon slices

Weinersnitchel – Costoletta Alla Milanese – Chicken Milanese

Weinersnitchel and Costoletta Alla Milanese are prepared with VEAL with a bone, often difficult to procure in the USA, outside of specialized online stores. Regular supermarkets don’t sell it while in Italy. However, it is readily available in every local butcher store.

Substituting Chicken for Veal is an acceptable way of preparing this dish using something available in every USA supermarket.

They have the “Pollo alla Milanesa,” which is essentially the same recipe in Uruguay. So there is a strong Italian influence on Uruguayan cuisine.

Alternative preparation

An alternative often presented in recipes on the web uses butter instead of oil. However, in my opinion and experience, it gives a lower quality result because the butter doesn’t reach the same high temperature available with the oil. Therefore it cannot be called “Nonno’s chicken“!

6 slices of chicken breast of about 70 g each
3 yolks
1 egg white
1 tablespoon grated cheese
breadcrumbs
80 g butter
nutmeg
salt

How to make Chicken Milanese in the USA – Pollo alla Milanese

In a large bowl, cream the three egg yolks with the egg white, add the grated cheese, a pinch of salt and a pinch of nutmeg.

Lightly beat the slices of breast, season with a pinch of salt and immediately pass them in the egg cream and then in the breadcrumbs, which must be very fine. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and when hot, place the chicken breasts in it. Fry them over high heat for a few minutes on both sides, turn them a couple of times and remove them when golden brown to prevent them from hardening. Dry on absorbent paper towels.

Chicken Milanese in the USA – Pollo alla Milanese is a Regional recipe of Lombardy – imported to the USA.

Italian salami MADE IN THE USA! – Salame italiano MADE IN USA!

Italian salami made in the USA – The history

The salami that tastes as it came from the old country made the old way. And in a way, it did, via San Francisco. That’s where producers make some of the best Italian salami sold in America.

A curious war made San Francisco the salami capital of America. From 1967 until 1970, a band of six determined Bay Area sausage makers argued to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they deserved the right to not only use Italian methods but to call their product “Italian salami.” They were direct descendants of salami makers of Milan, Lucca, Parma, and Modena. Around the turn of the last century, they had settled in a city whose temperate climate might be the only one in the United States perfectly suited for dry-curing salami. They even had the right strain of penicillin mold to give the links a classic white bloom.

Sure, the Italian Americans wanted to keep a corner of meat processing to themselves to prevent producers of cooked meat and fast-cured imitations from using the term. But at the heart of the argument was a pleasure.

The San Franciscans intended to save a revered delicacy from a fate worse than nonsense. Italian salami, they contended, is a food every bit as noble as cheese or wine. Looking back, it seems evident that the Bay Area salami makers were Slow Foodists of their day. At the heart of their argument, they insisted that authentic salami could not achieve quickly, or by cooking the sausages like hot dogs, or in a short hanging period, or by spiking the meat with unique flavorings.

In letter after letter to bleary USDA officials, they outlined the echt way to make it, the way, more or less, Italians had made it since the 5th century B.C. Salami must consist mainly of pork and fat, they said. This pork should come from the shoulder (haunches go-to ham), with large chunks of fat that won’t melt. This meat must be chopped, never pureed like a hot dog emulsion. Instead, it could be combined with wine, garlic, pepper, curing salts, maybe a touch of mace.

They used a lactic acid starter to start a slow fermentation that dry-cook the product. Dried milk was permissible as a binding agent between the meat and fat. They could then pack the heart into either cellulose or pork-gut casing. These sausages were then hung in drip rooms, then in aging rooms, for weeks, or months, depending on the chub’s size.

They stressed that the optimum range of curing temperatures was the same as San Francisco’s temperate climate. As the salami dried, the links fermented, and a change in acidity effectively cooked the meat and produced the complex spectrum of flavors. As this happened, the sausages would also dry. The beef would lose roughly 30% of its water weight. A penicillin mold would form on the coat, checking the meat’s exposure to air, thus stopping oxidation and preventing rancid flavors.

To press their case, the San Franciscans hired a lawyer. They formed something called the Dry Salami Institute. They prepared detailed family histories, paraded ribbons from salami competitions in Rome, and bombarded bureaucrats with long letters with even longer appendixes to the utter authenticity of their every salami-stuffing step. And, reader, they prevailed. Find the words “Italian salami” or “Italian Dry Salami” on a California chub, and you are guaranteed food that at least tries to hold its own in Italy.

Today the same Californian producers successfully lobby to maintain the prehistoric, archaic FDA regulations against importing original “made in Italy” salami. They joined in the effort by big Italian salami producers that have opened up factories in the USA to circumvent the FDA rules and deliver a “mass-market” product to the American supermarkets.

Finally, the real stuff is coming to the USA!

From 2014 on, the United States opened the frontiers of semi-manufactured salami made in Italy, such as salami, bacon, cups, and culatelli. The freeway has come from the Aphis (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) authorities that have officially recognized the Lombard, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, and Piedmont regions and the autonomous provinces Trento and Bolzano, free from swine vesicular disease.

Check that the product you are buying has the text “Product of Italy.”

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.