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
- Slice baguette and toast lightly on a cookie shoot at 350 degrees.
- 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.
- Broil toasts until cheese bubbles, about 2-3 minutes.
- 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.