The Beauty of Baked Scamorza

On appearance, Scamorza (ska-MORT-sa) is one of the ugliest cheeses. It looks like the belly button of a giant baby – dried out, pale, and slightly waxy. For years, I avoided it. No one I knew ate it, and the only person I ever saw order it in the cheese line was an old man with very large ears.

Turns out, that old man knew something I didn’t know. Scamorza is good company for the end of summer. When all that your garden offers is a few lonely herbs, you might as well pluck them and make Scamorza toasts with olive oil, herbs, and black pepper (see recipe below).

There’s a second reason Scamorza is good for the end of summer – it’s essentially fresh mozzarella that’s been salted and aged. Remember when those first garden tomatoes appeared and you ran out for a fresh, glossy cue ball of mozzarella to make a Caprese salad?

Well, with Scamorza you can make an Inverse Caprese Salad. Instead of fresh tomatoes, you can use sun-dried. And instead of fresh mozzarella, you can use dried mozzarella – it’s a perfect supper for a weepy day. You can also grate Scamorza onto pizza or pasta or scrambled eggs. Don’t let the tough exterior fool you; it’s still a mild little number.

If you want to try an age-old Scamorza recipe from Italy, follow Mario Batali’s advice and thread several Scamorza balls onto a spit, then roast them slowly over a wood fire until they turn golden brown. The insides will turn soft, perfect for scooping onto grilled bread.

Hint: file this away for Halloween. Scamorza, after all, means “beheaded.”

Baked Scamorza Toasts

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 Scamorza
  • Quality olive oil, preferably Tuscan
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary and basil work well)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Slice baguette and toast lightly on a cookie shoot at 350 degrees.
  2. Turn the oven to broil. Drizzle toasted baguette rounds with olive oil and top with thin slices of Scamorza. If you want, you can tuck a little prosciutto or tomato under the cheese.
  3. Broil toasts until cheese bubbles, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Top with chopped herbs, salt, and black pepper. Serve with cured meats, olives, and martinis or red wine.

For more horrific cheese thrills, please visit Madame Fromage.