The cherry tomatoes are ripening fast and they really don’t keep for too long, so suddenly we’re eating salads twice a day to keep up with the tomato production. This isn’t a bad thing — a nice crisp green salad with crunchy peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes, a little onion and maybe a few bleu cheese or goat cheese crumbles on top. That’s an easy and tasty lunch.
But by the second week, I was craving something a little different. Hence, the caprese salad. It looked like a good way to use a lot more tomatoes.
In addition to planting too many tomatoes, I also put in too many basil plants. I haven’t had much luck with basil in the past. It goes to seed too quickly or gets crowded out by other plants and doesn’t get enough sun. But this year, it’s thriving. All four plants are full of fragrant leaves.
To assemble this very easy salad, first halve about a pint of cherry tomatoes. I used Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, which turn a beautiful shade of orange, and yellow pear tomatoes. I also had a handful of small Early Girl tomatoes that ripened in a brief heat wave before they reached their usual full size. I cut these into small chunks.
For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a little white wine vinegar. Add minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. I wasn’t going to use lemon juice, but I still have lemons on the tree. Also, Rachel Ray uses lemon juice in her recipe, so there ya go.
Alternatively, The Pioneer Woman uses a balsamic vinegar reduction, and I endorse heartily anything The Pioneer Woman does. Her fancy mac-and-cheese recipe is solely responsible for the larger one-third of my wardrobe. Today, though, I didn’t want to turn on the stove to reduce the vinegar. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar for flavor.
Drain some small mozzarella balls — bocconcino. You can find them at Trader Joe’s in the mini size. Or you probably find slightly larger size at any grocery store. I had the regular sized ones, cut into smaller chunks.
Cut the basil, using the chiffonade method. Combine the mozzarella and tomatoes and then drizzle with the dressing and added the basil last.
This is an easy salad to throw together and it keeps in the refrigerator overnight. I’ve used the leftovers, when there are any, as a topping for bruschetta or a green salad.