Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Simple summer caprese salad

One of my absolute favorite things in the world is a home grown fresh tomato. One year my hubby went nuts and planted about a dozen different varieties of heirloom tomatoes (aka Frankenmatoes), and we spent the summer reveling in the flavors and colors. I prefer varieties that are on the sweeter side, not the acidic kinds. Besides a hefty BLT sandwich, or open face toasted cheese sandwich with a fat slice on top, a caprese salad is probably my most preferred way to eat them. I used to buy the big hunks of fresh mozarella, the ones that are plum size or larger, until I discovered these little beauties. Why deal with trying to manage a slippery chunk if you can get it already nicely portioned out? I got these ones at Costco, and have seen them at many other stores as well.

I am not going to give amounts for this. It's not that kind of a salad. It's an eyeball-it-and-make-it-the-way-you-want salad.

Baby greens
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh mozarella balls (the marble size balls, preferably)
Fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Lay down a thin layer of the baby greens on a serving plate. They're mostly for color contrast and to catch the excess liquid. Cut the tomatoes either into wedges or fat slices and scatter them evenly over the greens. Add an even layer of the mozarella balls. Sprinkle salt and pepper on, then drizzle with olive oil then balsamic vinegar. Stack the basil leaves, then roll them up all together so that you can slice thin strips off easily to add as a garnish. This is best when served within 30 minutes or so of putting together.

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