It’s about this time of year when those red, ripe tomatoes are looking to come out of the garden and into my belly.
After last year’s disaster in which I spent $50 for no tomatoes as a growing project, we chose to hit up the farm stand. Jersey tomatoes combined with fresh mozzarella and our home-grown basil, we put it all together for a fresh salad that was surprisingly filling.
We have a go with the Caprese salad about once a year. It’s at its best when tomatoes are in season (duh), but that limits when you can have it. If you are trying to get tomatoes in the winter or spring, they are all mealy and not flavorful. Yeck.
Also, we’ve had a spate of really hot weather recently and there is next to no cooking or effort involved in this meal. There is some expense though — fresh mozzarella isn’t going to be the cheapest thing on your grocery list (but it usually clocks in at under $5).
The photo pretty much explains the assembly, but here is what you need:
- Fresh mozzarella
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Aged Balsamic vinegar
A quick note about that last item. “Aged” is a relative term. Some “aged” vinegar is actually prepared in a way that gives it more flavor. Not ours. Ours has “aged” by sitting on the shelf for a while. Still, it sounds more fancy that way.
As for the basil, if you don’t have a small garden with fresh basil leaves, you can usually buy them at the grocery store. They come in little packets or as a small plant. Typically only a couple of bucks for both.
Now for the assembly. You want thick slices of tomato. Not like gigantic, but hearty. Same goes for the mozzarella. Stack it up, alternating layers of cheese, tomato and basil. Splash some “aged” vinegar on top and you’ve got yourself an easy warm weather dinner.