One of the most honorable uses of tomatoes in the summer is to assemble a Caprese salad. Ya’ll, I had to look this up but Caprese salad means salad in the style of Capri and originated in the Italian region of Campania.

I think my first revelation about this came years ago when I realized that mozzarella for this salad does not come in a plastic bag hanging in the cheese section of the supermarket. In fact, most supermarkets don’t carry the kind of mozzarella you need which is fresh, fresh, fresh and in a ball. Sometimes it comes in a plastic tub filled with liquid. Lately, I’ve seen it at The Fresh Market just wrapped in plastic. You have to have this or don’t even bother.

The second thing you have to have are real tomatoes. You can only make this salad during tomato season. It drives me absolutely up the wall to go into a restaurant in January and see this salad on the menu. I always ask the waiter if the tomatoes are in season. Trick question. The waiter is usually clueless and assures me they are. Liar, liar, pants on fire! If you order this salad in January, you will get what you deserve: flavorless orbs injected with chemicals to turn them red picked by slave labor in Florida. Not so appetizing, eh?

So, because I am so blessed to have a great farmer’s market nearby, this time of year I pick up not only the traditional red tomatoes, but also sweet yellow ones and beautiful heirlooms like the green zebra. Layer them with the fresh mozzarella, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a sprinkling of freshly ground salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the dressing. Fall into a chair delirious with the bounty of the summer harvest.

5 Comments

  1. Gloria Cox
    Gloria CoxReply
    August 18, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I use fresh basil on my Caprese as well. Yum !

  2. Kim
    KimReply
    August 18, 2011 at 2:13 am

    ohhhh, my favorite! why can’t we have this on the dock? huh? with a nice mojito? huh? i’ll actually come to the office if we can have this!!!

  3. julie hendrix
    julie hendrixReply
    August 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

    and why is it that buffalo mozzarella is the BEST fresh mozzarella for this salad divinity? I get why it is so expensive, I ain’t milking a buffalo, but I don’t understand why it tastes better….(seriously)

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      August 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Well, I had to look this up and the answer is that buffalo mozzarella has more of everything than cow’s milk mozzarella – more protein, more minerals, more vitamins and, most importantly, more fat.

  4. julie
    julieReply
    August 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    ah. of course.

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