Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summertime Tomato Salad

This simple title represents a simple, yet delicious, take on some of summer's best. Tomatoes - the market is full of them. I was at the Davis' farmer's market last Saturday, and there are so many different types of tomatoes, I could fill my bag to the very top with just a sampling of one tomato of each type. I especially like some of the heirloom types. They have real character - with their high ridges and deep valleys. If your family is like mine, this simple name will win them to the delicious taste of summer. However, when I'm entertaining, or am simply feeling formal, I call this a "caprese salad with balsamic reduction". Whatever you call it, enjoy. Fresh, locally grown tomatoes make their curtain call now, and never last long.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 whole tomatoes, sliced
6 leaves fresh Italian basil
2 small balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced
2-4 leaves of red leaf lettuce


Pour balsamic vinegar into a stainless steel or other non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 20 minutes, until reduced to half. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, arrange salads on plates. Place leaf lettuce on the plate first. Then, alternate slices of tomato, basil, and mozzarella, ending with tomato. Drizzle balsamic reduction decoratively over salad.

Serves 2

Stealthy Cooking Tip: For a time saver, make more balsamic reduction than you can use today. Then, keep the remainder in a glass jar, refrigerated, until you're ready to use it again. It's nice over roasted vegetables and meats, as well as salads and appetizers. This recipe easily doubles, triples, or increases in size to feed whatever size crowd you're feeding today. Just plan on about 1 tomato, 2 basil leaves, and 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella per person.

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