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Mozzarella and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing

June 1, 2012

Did you know that June is both “National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable” and “National Dairy” month?  Well, neither did I – but it is.  So, I begin thinking about a recipe that incorporates both fresh veggies/fruit and dairy.  And – voila – it came to me! Caprese salad.

It’s actual name is “insalata Caprese” (salad in the style of Capri)  and is a simple Italian salad made of sliced, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. The first time I ever tasted it, I fell madly in love as I really enjoy flavorful, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil.  But, what sent me over the edge was the fresh mozzarella.  I grew up on packaged and grated mozzarella that was usually melted on top of a pizza.  Little did I know – since my family isn’t Italian – the glories of fresh, creamy mozzarella. I’ve never purchased anything but since that day of discovery. 

This recipe is an adaptation of one from The Mozzarella Company – a cheese company that introduced north Texans to fresh mozzarella.  I’m sharing it with you as it is one of the best I’ve ever tasted and – believe me – I’ve tried caprese salad around the world. You can serve it as a side dish or main.  If you serve it as a main dish, all you need is some hot crusty bread and you’ve got everything you need for a balanced meal.  Enjoy!

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing

1 pound of fresh mozzarella cheese

2 large vine-ripened tomatoes

Arugula

Arrange arugula on a serving platter or individual salad plates.  Slice cheese and tomatoes uniformly – about 1/4″ thick. Alternate layering cheese and tomatoes over arugula.  Salt and pepper to taste and then drizzle with dressing.

Dressing:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSPS. balsamic vinegar

6 – 8 fresh basil leaves – plus a few more for garnish

Combine all ingredients – except the extra basil leaves to be used for garnish – in a food processor or blender and process until well combined.  Drizzle over salad and garnish with additional basil leaves.

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