Friday, September 10, 2010

Caprese Salad

Here's what Farmer John had for us in Silver Lake this week:

Yellow summer squash
Basil, mixed herbs or garlic chives
Roma tomatoes
Leaf lettuce

And here's what Tara brought down from Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark:

Yellow watermelon
Butternut squash
Green pepper
Leaf lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
Cherokee heirloom tomatoes

And Silver Lake Farms provided delicious microgreens (radish and pak choi).

If you haven't enjoyed a delicious Caprese Salad yet this summer, now would be the perfect time. With the beautiful fresh green basil and plump cherokee tomatoes at today's pick-up, all you need to add is some fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for this great summer treat.

Caprese Salad is believed to have originated on the island of Capri and the green basil, white mozzarella, and red tomatoes are said to represent the colors of the Italian flag. But don't let that stop you from trying any number of variations such as exotic purple basil or the lovely golden cherry tomatoes that were available from our CSA today.

Great ingredients are key, and the mozzarella cheese is an important component of this dish. Be sure to get soft, fresh mozzarella, not the harder, drier kind you'd use on pizza. The best mozzarellas are made from water buffalo milk; however, there are some very fine cows milk mozzarellas, too.

The simplest way to make this great salad is to slice the mozzarella into thin rounds and slice the tomato cross-wise into slightly thicker rounds. Wash the basil and remove the basil leaves from the stems. [Compost the stems.] Using the largest basil leaves, arrange alternating pieces of mozzarella, tomato and basil in an overlapping layer on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's that easy.

If you want to get fancy, you can roast cherry tomatoes and use creamy burrata cheese; or you can cut the basil into thin strips and spread it over the salad. If you decide to roast the beautiful golden cherry tomatoes we got today, be sure to toss them in a little olive oil before popping them in the oven. I like to sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper before roasting, too.

However you decide to make your Caprese Salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, cut a couple of slices great bread, and enjoy the waning days of summer - they won't last long.



One more thing: If you're a real cheese-lover like me, you might get a kick out of a silly game called cheeseorfont. You guess whether a word is a cheese or a font. You can play this game at Have fun!

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