Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

The end of summer tomato bonanza is in full swing!  We just went to the farmer’s market yesterday and every vender had their farm’s bounty of tomatoes exploding in their stand.  From your standard vine-ripened tomatoes to the popular heirlooms that come in all shapes, sizes and colors, the taste of tomatoes are at their peak right now.

Last weekend, at the request of the guest of honor, I made a caprese-style salad for my friend’s baby shower.  Ina’s recipe is called “Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad” which, last time I checked, are the three main ingredients in a caprese salad.  This is basically just an assembly job.  As long as the ingredients are of good quality, you will end up with a delicious salad. I bought my heirloom tomatoes (organic) last week at Trader Joe’s.  You get a pound for around $3 which, for organic heirlooms, is really reasonable. I also bought the basil and fresh mozzarella at Trader Joe’s.  They have many different varieties of mozzarella from which to choose.  I went with the log of fresh mozzarella made for slicing.

Then, my mom brought me a whole bag of fresh tomatoes from her co-worker’s garden and I had a great deal of mozzarella left over from the shower, so I made this salad all week as a side dish.  I STILL had leftover mozzarella come yesterday, so I picked up some more heirloom tomatoes at the Little Italy farmer’s market and we had this salad again last night.  So good!  Enjoy the tomatoes while they last!

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad (courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa: Family Style)

Ingredients:

  • 6 small tomatoes (4 medium)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 10 to 15 basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and arrange casually with the basil leaves on a large platter.

Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

I think the “serve at room temperature” part is actually really important.  Not only have I learned not to store tomatoes in the refrigerator, which kills the flavor, I have also learned, thanks to my Italian friend, Christina, that cheese tastes best at room temperature.  It really does. Bon appetito!

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