The heat of the summer is upon us and vine-ripened fresh tomatoes are in abundance both in your garden and at Farmer's Markets throughout the country.
Here's a quick way to use up those gorgeous red beauties bursting with summertime flavor:
Mozzarella Caprese Salad
This southern Italian favorite is quick and easy and makes use of the plentiful tomatoes and fresh basil available in mid-summer. It also uses fresh mozzarella which is a semi-soft cheese that is packed in water. If you can't find fresh mozzarella in the dairy section at your grocer look for it in your grocer's deli section.
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, washed, de-stemmed, and sliced thickly in 3/8" slices
8 oz fresh mozzarella packed in water, drained, sliced thickly in 3/8" slices
fresh basil leaves, washed and de-stemmed (substitute dried basil if necessary)
2 TBSP good-quality extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1. Wash and de-stem the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in 3/8" thick slices.
2. Drain the mozzarella. Slice the mozzarella in 3/8" thick slices.
3. On a serving plate slightly overlap alternating slices of tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves (if available).
4. Drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil.
5. Season with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. If fresh basil leaves are not available you may sprinkle with a pinch or two of dried basil.
6. Serve at room temperature.
It's that simple. This salad makes a wonderful appetizer on a hot summer day and goes well with a peppery Syrah or zesty Sangiovese red wine. It's also great as a light vegetarian meal.