Caprese (cah-prehy-zay) Salad

Ah, the great thing about living in California is that even though it isn’t summer yet, we always have a steady supply of tomatoes. Which means, I can enjoy this fresh salad pretty much any time of the year. Sure, in the off-season months the tomatoes aren’t as sweet or juicy, and there are no heirlooms, with their splendid texture and colors, to fawn over. But hey, we all take for granted (especially in San Francisco, where everyone is a self-professed foodie with an opinion on all things epicurean) the abundance of produce that is available to us that I often have to pause, and catch myself from turning into a food-snob. I’m lucky to have all that is available to me at my little local market, even if some of the stuff is from outside our state line. I guess what I’m trying to say is… I fully support eating local ingredients, but for some, whether monetary or geographically, it’s not an option not as available. I prefer to approach the situation in a more conscientious manner. Ask questions like: Who is the farm? What are their practices? And etc. After all, every farm is a local farm to somebody. But ok, back to tomatoes! I love this classic Italian salad. It is incredibly easy to assemble, and can be done just for one, or just as quickly on a larger scale for a dinner party. Either way, it is so pretty to look at, even better to eat. Enjoy!

2 tomatoes
1 – 8oz fresh mozzarella ball
4-6 leaves fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Serves 2

1. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange them in an alternating pattern on serving plate.
2. Make a chiffonade (thin strips) of basil by gathering the leaves in a stack, then roll together, and thinly slice. Unravel the strips and scatter over the tomatoes and mozzarella.
3. Drizzle lightly with the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Wasn’t that easy? Now go eat!

* Choose tomatoes that are the same size as the mozzarella so the slices will be even.
* Whatever you do, don’t call it a CAH-PREESE salad!

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