It’s summer. Feel the sun and heat? That is the magical ingredient to making fruits and vegetables their very best. Summer tomatoes are juicy, tangy and sweet. They are nothing like the tomatoes that are available during the off season. A Caprese salad is simple to make, and it can be pretty pricey at a restaurant, but if you just buy good ingredients, what you will create will be every bit as yummy as a salad ordered at a restaurant. (If you do not already have the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, that is what will cost you, but those are ingredients that you can use in your cooking and in making even more salads.)
2 medium/large tomatoes – try Heirloom if you can get them. They are a tomato wonder. Beefsteak tomatoes are also delectable.
fresh mozzarella, otherwise known at Buffalo mozzarella
Good extra virgin olive oil
Good balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
If you look at the pictures, you will see the progression in making the Caprese. It’s built in layers. The major players are the ingredients. Make sure you rinse all the produce under cold water, dry them, and then you begin the layering process.
Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch, and that’s layer 1. Drain and dry the cheese and slice into thin discs, and that’s layer 2. Split your avocado in half by running a sharp knife around the outside of an avocado. Pull the halves apart, and dice the avocado into large pieces (about 3/4-1 inch), and that’s layer 3. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, if you have it. The salt will really help add a zing to the salad. Next, take about a tablespoon of your good extra virgin olive oil and drizzle over the tomatoes and everything else. Following that, with about 2 teaspoons, or to your liking, drizzle the balsamic vinegar. Take your cleaned and dried basil leaves, layer them neatly on top of one another so that they stack like a pile of papers. Then roll the stack of leaves length-wise. With a sharp knife, slice into narrow strips, and sprinkle generously over the top. Mangia time!
Serve this as a lunch salad or side dish for dinner – or a great summer light dinner. The addition of the avocado adds protein and extra substance, not to mention the creamy Buffalo mozzarella!