One of my favorite cooking philosophies comes from Judy Rogers, chef and owner of San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe. Anytime you come up with a recipe, or an idea or technique in the kitchen, she says, stop and think, “Wait. How can I make this harder?” Sometimes we like things complicated . . . then again, sometimes life is complicated and hard enough. After a hard day, it can be a comfort to come home to a dinner of tapas–grill a little squash, slice a cucumber, cut a tomato into wedges, heat a loaf of bread, pour a glass of wine, and pull this marinated mozzarella out of the fridge. Remember? You made it when you had all that energy.
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp chile flakes, or to taste
3 roasted hot green chiles (optional)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 bell peppers or sweet Italian peppers, minced
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil just to simmering. Add the chile flakes, roasted peppers, if using, and the garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes, but do not let the garlic color at all. Set aside, and allow to cool completely. Remove roasted chiles, if used, and discard. Once oil is completely cool, add mozzarella balls or cubes, stir in minced peppers, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.