An upcoming Ottolenghi recipe calls for scamorza, or smoked mozzarella. You can buy it, but I thought “pfft. I’ll smoke it myself”.
I don’t actually own a smoker, yet recipes not involving them don’t really seem to exist that I could find. What I could find is that pecan nuts are the main smoking ingredient. My mind wandered to the Chinese method of smoking duck and chicken breast, suspending them over tea-leaves and other aromatics. You need a good wok with a lid.
It’s un-nerving cooking this way as it’s one of those methods where you can’t look at the result mid-way – you’ll lose the smoke – you just have to drum your fingers on the kitchen counter and wait. The result was nice and piquant – just what I was after.
(PS. This is the recipe I used it in)
50g pecan nuts
Sprinkle of smoked sea salt
- Leave the mozzarella uncovered out of the fridge for half an hour before starting and sprinkle with smoked sea salt. This allows it to dry and form a slightly tougher skin.
- Wrap a wok in a couple of layers of tin foil, and get it going ruddy hot. Wrap the lid in foil also to ensure a good seal. After a few minutes toss the pecan nuts into the bottom of the wok and leave them undisturbed until you start to smell the nuts getting toasty. Turn them over and wait for steam to start coming off the nuts.
- Move the wok off the heat. Either use a metal trivet or arrange wooden skewers as above so you can balance the cheese above the nuts. Clamp the lid on and leave for at least twenty minutes. Don’t peek!
- Wrap the cheese tightly in cling film until you need it.