Today’s recipe from the editor’s of Relish magazine is perfect for this week’s weather: It’s a salad. You don’t have to turn on your oven or stovetop. Perfect for when it’s 100-plus degrees outside. (Well, some of the modifications due, but that’s up to you).
Classic Caprese Salad
Use pieces of toasted, crusty bread to mop up the rich mix of tomato juices, fruity olive oil and aromatic vinegar
3 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
2 (4-ounce) fresh mozzarella balls (buffalo milk is best if available)
Fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1. Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
2. Drain mozzarella from package brine solution and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. (To make slicing easy, dip your knife into hot water to warm the blade between cuts.)
3. Arrange alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella and basil leaves on four plates. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and a scattering of torn basil leaves. Set aside 5 minutes to allow flavors to intensify. Serves 4.
Change it up
Caprese Salad lends itself to endless variations. Here are our favorites.
• Caprese Salad with Roasted Beets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap 3 beets individually in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast 1 hour or until tender. Let cool. Rub off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Follow directions in Classic Caprese Salad adding a layer of beets to the tomatoes, cheese and basil.
• Caprese with Roasted Red Bell Peppers. Heat boiler. Cut 2 red bell peppers into halves. Flatten with hand. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until charred on top. Gather up foil and wrap peppers. Let cool. Peel. Follow directions in Classic Caprese Salad adding a layer of peppers to tomatoes, cheese and basil.
• Caprese Pasta Salad. Chop leftover Caprese Salad or cut into smaller pieces. Toss with cooked penne pasta or other short pasta.