Summer Salad > Caprese

Friday, August 13, 2010

Salad making is at its best with the ripe fruits & veggies of the Summer growing season...  I particularly look forward to the varieties of heirloom tomatoes offered by my local farmers markets.  I select the my juicy jewels by sight - the crazier lookin' the better - zebra striped, lumpy & bumpy, in bright rainbow colors.  The perfect pairing and an easy appetizer or salad to prepare is a Caprese salad - bringing together 6 basic ingredients that sing in your mouth with every bite.  Check out my photos below of the Caprese salad I prepared last night and see how deliciously simple this salad is to create & enjoy.

1. Select your favorite tomatoes - leave out to room temperature.  Pull out a serving dish.  On a cutting board slice the tomato.  

2.  Mozzarella Cheese - select mozzarella in a ball shape, packaged in water.  On your cutting board, slice the ball either into wedges or slices.  

3.  Fresh Basil - this basil bunch is from our garden.  Try to find basil that is bright green & leafy.  Wash, and pull off leaves from stem.  Estimate at least 1 basil leaf per slice of tomato.  On your serving plate, fan out your tomato slices in a sort of half moon configuration.  Slide basil leaves between each tomato.  Mozzarella - either you can slide your mozzarella along with the basil & tomato, or choose to position your wedges on a remaining corner of your serving dish.

4.  Your Dressing - 3 parts - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Cracked Pepper, & Coarse Kosher Salt.  Take your serving dish - with the arranged tomato, basil, and mozzarella - drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top, leaving light droplets of oil, no need to coat ever item on the dish.  {Quick Tip:  To help control the flow of olive oil - when you're holding the bottle and just before you start to drizzle, place your thumb over the mouth opening, allowing small droplets to reach your dish.} Take your pepper mill and crack fresh pepper over top.  Final step, tomatoes love salt, so be a little liberal when sprinkling over top...  Let your salad sit for a couple of minutes allowing the salt to draw out the juices of the tomato & mozzarella, providing even more of a fresh & tasty marinade.

Voila!  Your Caprese Salad ~ Summer Entertaining at its Best.

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