Watch Matt Serfass, kitchen manager of Naples Tomato, 14700 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 598-9800, make fresh mozzarella cheese on the CookIt! video.
Serfass was the first pasta chef for restaurant, which owned by his brother and sister-in-law, and is now the kitchen manager. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2005 and arrived at the restaurant ready to make fresh pasta. In 2009 he became the kitchen manager and now oversees everything that is made at the restaurant. He has also volunteered to work in the kitchen at Oceana in New York City with Chef Ben Pollinger and helped prepare dinner at the James Beard House.
Serfass likes everything on his menu, but if he had to pick a favorite it would be the lasagna, hands down, he says. In fact, the one ingredient he must have in his kitchen is flour to make his fresh pasta. You may have seen him at local farmer’s markets, because every part of the culinary arts is his passion. Working at Naples Tomato is a dream come true, Serfass says, because fine dining and great wine is his indulgence.
Serfass will be teaching people how to make mozzarella from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 28 or Sept. 25 at Naples Tomato; the class is $35, and you can register at 598-9800. Or you can make the cheese at home with the following recipe:
Photo by CARRIE WISE // Buy this photo
Homemade mozzarella cheese
½ pound of whole-milk mozzarella curd (available at Italian delicatessens or cheese stores)
Cut curd into jellybean-size pieces and place in a large stainless steel bowl.
Pour 180-degree salted water over curd and allow to sit for one minute.
When curd “knits” together, gather into one glob. (To avoid burning, use insulated rubber gloves.)
Gently lift curd from water and slowly begin to stretch.
Stretch and fold and repeat two or three times till smooth and shiny.
Form into mozzarella balls. (The size and shape are up to you).
Pinch or cut off newly formed ball.
Drop into a salted ice bath to cool completely.
Please note: After making your fresh mozzarella, it is advisable to eat it within the first two days; otherwise the cheese may lose its flavor. You may also freeze the cheese and consume at a later date.
Here is a recipe to make with your fresh mozzarella:
Classic caprese salad
24 ounces of homemade mozzarella, sliced into ¼ inch-thick discs
2 beefsteak tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves, washed
8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic reduction to taste or preference (optional)
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices
Salt and pepper the tomatoes.
Plate a slice of tomato, basil and mozzarella and then another of each and drizzle with the oil.
Connect with Sheila Mesulam at www.naplesnews.com/staff/sheila_mesulam