Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Classic Caprese Salad

I love summer.  The days are lazy, the kids sleep in longer with every passing week, and my garden just grows, and grows, and grows.  We've had to water it more than ever this year...due to the prolonged drought here in Houston, but so far, the only thing we've lost is the yellow squash. 

Our tomatoes have really taken off the past couple of weeks.  David usually plants just one cherry tomato seedling, and one beefsteak seedling.  Well, have mercy...they have grown all the way to the top of our fence, and we pick nearly every day.  Rebecca eats her fill of the little cherries, and I've used the bigger tomatoes for some of my absolute favorite tomato recipes.  And my basil is just gorgeous...some of the leaves are as big as my hand!

Now, you really don't have to stack this salad the way I did...I just wanted to go a bit fancy for the photos.  And it's precarious, let me tell you!  Next time, I'm definitely not going fancy...I'll just lay it all out on a plate.  Don't assemble this salad until you're ready to eat.  It only takes minutes to prepare.  The longer the salt sits on the tomatoes, the more water will seep out, and it makes the plate watery.

I really believe using home grown tomatoes is a must.  Store bought tomatoes just don't have the mellow, sweet flavor that home grown tomatoes do.  If you must buy them, try to find them at a farmer's market or start growing your own...it's really easy! 

Classic Caprese Salad

1-2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (keeping the top and bottom slices)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
Handful of fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Lay the bottom tomato slice on a serving plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with 1-2 basil leaves, one slice of the mozzarella, and a drizzle of the olive oil.

Here's where I goofed.  I had stacked the whole stack, garnished with the oil and vinegar, and realized I'd forgotten to use the basil leaves.  That's what I get for trying to be fancy! ;-)  So you'll see the dressing on the plate before I actually finished assembling the salad, because I had to start all over again.

Repeat, stacking the tomato, cheese, and basil, until you've used up all the tomato.  Don't forget to season the tomatoes with the salt and pepper, and drizzle the oil over the mozzarella. 

Top with the last slice of tomato (the stem end), and a pretty bunch of basil.  Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top, and around the plate.  Finish off with some balsamic vinegar around the plate as well. 

David and I inhaled this salad...it was SO good.  Rebecca had some too, and said,

"Mommy, I think I could eat this every day.  We have go get some more cheese tomorrow and make it again!" 

I told her would we definitely will be making this again.  As long as we keep getting beautiful, large tomatoes from the garden, I can see us eating this salad at least 2x a week. :-)

Enjoy summer's bounty, and tasty eating!  I sure hope you can get your hands on some sweet tomatoes and make this salad.  Like now! 

God bless your table tonight!


Mama/Linda said...

I make this salad ALL summer long! Thanks for giving some good estimations of how much of the vinegar and olive oil. Usually, I just guess!!! (This is Katie L's mom)

Kimberly said...

Honestly, I really don't measure...I just pour over however much looks good!