Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

 

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomato mozzarella salad | Photo by Brave New Food

Three things that always (yes, always) go together: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. There are many ways to concoct these ingredients, but the most basic — and arguably one of the most delicious — is the simple tomato and mozzarella salad. There is a caveat, however. If you’re looking to skimp on price, this is not the recipe with which to do it. [Exit: my fellow poor grad students].

You’ll need the very best tomatoes (“vine-ripened” of the bright red variety work well), the freshest and softest mozzarella (usually at least $5.00 or above to start), and at least a medium-quality olive oil, such as Colavita or Bertolli. You’ll find that you will use olive oil extremely often in Italian cooking, so no need for sticker shock just yet – especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a buy-one-get-one-free deal at the grocery store. (Bless you, Publix.) Also, take solace in the fact that you can use off-brand olive oil for many other dishes …. basically, any recipe where it isn’t drizzled on top.

Now, to make this darling little salad, you’ll need the following:

  • 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • 8 1/4-inch thick slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper (t0 taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Core the tomatoes and cut into roughly 1/4-inch slices to match the mozzarella slices. (Note: salting them before layering gets rid of some of the excess liquid.) Layer tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a large serving plate or on four individual plates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly drizzle olive oil on top and serve. (Makes 4 servings).

[Source: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, p. 101]

And, finally, now that you’re hooked on the tomato-cheese-basil combo, here’s another delicious concoction to try. (Photo below.)

Tomato Feta Salad

Tomato Feta Salad - The diced onions and balsamic vinegar really add to this tomato-cheese-basil combo.

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