Iain Todd- Executive Chef, Saffire Freycinet
by Iain Todd
“This is a really nice early summer dish using buffalo mozzarella, it’s the most delicious thing! I remember when I was a first year apprentice in my first few weeks of working in a little restaurant in Melbourne after I had just moved there. My head chef gave me a little slice of buffalo mozzarella to taste when the cheese van had come around to the back door of the kitchen. It was one of those moments where the world stood still. So simple yet so delicious. That’s when I knew that I was going to be stuck in the kitchen forever.”
BUFFALO MOZZARELLA AND BAKED PUMPKIN WITH PUMPKIN HUMMUS
Ingredients: (serves four)
- 2 fresh buffalo mozzarella balls
- 1 large wedge of Jap pumpkin
- 2 cups pepita pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp Champagne vinegar (or good quality vinegar such as Apple Cider or White Wine vinegar)
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
Scrape the seeds out of the pumpkin and cut it into four pieces, all equal in size. Drizzle them with a decent amount of oil and season well. Place in the oven at 140 degrees for about three hours.
Meanwhile, spread the pepitas onto a baking tray and put into the oven at 140 degrees for 30 minutes while the pumpkin is in there. When the pepitas are done place half into a blender and keep the other half aside. Add the two tablespoons of vinegar and the garlic to the blender and enough warm water to cover the seeds. Then add enough olive oil to cover 1cm over the top of the seeds. Blend on high speed. You’ll probably need to scrape the sides down as you go. You should end up with a thick, emulsified paste a bit like hummus. Adjust the seasoning with salt and a little more vinegar if needed.
After three hours remove the pumpkin from the oven and turn the oven off. Tear each mozzarella ball in half and place on a tray in the still hot, but turned off, oven. Place a blob of the pumpkin seed hummus on each of four plates. Place a piece of pumpkin down on each blob of hummus laying flat. Then sprinkle with more salt and the remaining pumpkin seeds.Remove the mozzarella from the oven and place one piece next to the pumpkin. Drizzle with more olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. ■