Twink's Treats: Caprese Tomatoes for a Change!
Summer is now officially here! Although “officially” means calendar wise because after months of 85+ temperatures, it feels like it’s been here forever. The word summer brings to mind for me such wonderful childhood memories, easy days, casual and carefree feelings. When I was growing up, summer seemed to last forever. What a great feeling – knowing you had three months of just “hanging”, sleeping in, staying outside to play late, catching lightening bugs to put in a jar, swimming every day, and eating fresh, homegrown vegetables! Even today, I love summer, and everything about it. Especially the fresh vegetables!
Tomatoes are one of the best bounties of summer. There’s nothing like a great homegrown tomato. So many ways to enjoy them – I’m a huge fan of anything tomato, and love a tomato sandwich! We used to call them “M&M’s” – mater and mayo! Tomato, salt and pepper and mayonnaise (Hellman’s only) on white bread – nothing like it. That’s truly a southern tradition.
One way I love to serve tomatoes is by making a Caprese Salad. This is a simple salad of Italian origin made of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil, with olive oil and seasonings. The red, white and green in the salad resembles the colors of the Italian flag, and is generally served in Italy as a starter/appetizer. I serve it as a side item substituting for a salad, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it. It’s different, and very good. Here’s my version:
Sliced ripe tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
Fresh basil leaves, chopped chiffonade style
Salt, pepper, oregano
Baby lettuces (such as baby romaine mix or spring mix)
On a platter, place about 2 handfuls of lettuces. Arrange tomatoes in a cohesive pattern over lettuce, top with a slice of cheese, then basil leaves. Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano on top of tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and a drop or two of balsamic vinegar on each stack. Serve with good bread and a glass of wine. Enjoy!
Until next time, be kinder than necessary, and be thankful for small blessings daily! -Twink