“… respect the tomato!…”
There are some things in life that are so simple, yet so satisfying. This beautiful salad is one of them. A summer ritual at the cabin, it’s something that I serve when all of the kids are visiting with their friends – or visiting alone – and has been requested many times over the years.
It’s just a ramped up version of your typical Caprese salad; but incorporating the basil into a marvelously delicious dressing. We have an abundance of basil here at the cabin as well as in any of the fresh markets through out the valley. Which is something that I absolutely adore. I remember living in the city many years ago and just hoping I’d come across some fresh basil. It just wasn’t that popular back in the ’80’s and ’90’s. Fortunately for everyone, people have come to their senses and have started growing more and more of it over the years.
Now a couple of things I need to tell you before you haul out your blender. Be sure to have your garlic minced well before you throw it into the blender. I use what some may consider the Goddess of all blenders – the Vitamix. Lovely blender. But you know what? It still won’t break down a rough chopped garlic clove. Love ya, Vitamix. But just saying.
And secondly and perhaps most importantly, be sure sure to serve your tomatoes at room temperature. Now can we just talk about this for a minute? I don’t know why it is, but how many times have I walked into a restaurant and ordered a Caprese salad or any other salad with ‘matoes on it – and the ‘matoes are cold, flavourless, juiceless lumps of red on my plate? Many times, people. Many times. It is a travesty to serve a cold tomato unless it’s pureed up in a Bloody Mary. Otherwise, it’s an outright disrespect of the tomato. Respect the tomato! Ok, got that pet peeve off my chest. Phew!
As mentioned, I’ve made this countless times over the years. It’s an easy dressing to double too depending on how many people you’re serving. I’ve served this on a large platter with 15 tomatoes and two balls of cheese before and just drizzled the dressing before people dug in. And you know what? It’s not brain science. Taste it before you serve it. Is it too tangy? Add a little bit more olive oil. How’s the seasoning? Do you like it saltier? Well add more then. It’s a very forgiving dressing and you can easily play with the ingredients if you like. Now go get those ‘matoes out of the fridge and enjoy this little bit of summer on your plate. ♥
- Basil Dressing
- 2 cups packed fresh whole basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ of a medium sized orange, peeled
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- For The Salad
- 4 large beef steak tomatoes
- 1 ball of fresh Mozzarella, sliced
- Several basil leaves, whole and sliced for topping
- Basil Dressing
- Rough chop the basil, then place all of the basil dressing ingredients into your blender. Blend until well combined and there are no lumps of anything left behind. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper if required and if not tart enough for you, add another splash of vinegar and blend some more. Set aside.
- For The Salad
- Slice tomatoes in thick slices and slice up the Mozzarella so that each serving as at least two or three slices of Mozza with their tomato.
- Stack the tomatoes and the Mozzarella on individual serving plates. Drizzle with basil dressing.
- Top each plate with freshly chopped basil and whole basil leaves if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!