Hand-Pulled Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Recipe provided by Taylor Roe, Butcher Block Grill

(7000 W. Camino Real, #100, Boca Raton, 561/409-3035)

7 ounces cheese curd, purchased

1 quart heavily salted water

Large heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Baby heirloom tomatoes, halved

Extra-virgin olive oil

Micro-basil

Salt to taste

Balsamic vinegar syrup

For balsamic syrup: Place 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan. Reduce on medium heat until thick and syrupy.

For cheese: Place cheese curd in bowl. Heat water above 186 degrees and pour into bowl. Let curd soften, then gather together with your hands. Remove cheese from water and gently stretch it for several minutes until it no longer has any lumps and the surface is smooth and shiny, dunking back into water if necessary to keep the cheese pliable.

Form into large ball by taking cheese in both hands and tucking the bottom in or make small balls (“bocconcini”) by making a ring shape with your thumb and forefinger, forcing the cheese through the opening and pinching it off.

To assemble: Sprinkle tomatoes with salt (use red, yellow and golden tomatoes for variety). Cut large ball of mozzarella into slices or take bocconcini and arrange on plate with tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic syrup. Top with micro-basil. Serve.