Friday recipe: the Big Easy Caprese

August 15, 2014 —

Between helping Child #2 get ready for college, attending various summer functions and working on myriad projects to promote all the wonderful aspects of DMU, I find my scrambled brain wondering, “What ever happened to the lazy days of summer? Where the heck did JULY go? And just who put 18 more tasks on my to-do list?”

Fortunately, this crazed time of year brings sweet relief in the form of gifts from the garden. That means meals entirely of sweet corn and sliced tomatoes. Simple snacks of watermelon chunks and carrot sticks. And one of the easiest and tastiest treats around, caprese salad.

It's so pretty...it's so pretty...

It’s so pretty…it’s so pretty…

Literally, the “salad from Capri,” my version of this combo isn’t a traditional tossed salad, and there’s no gloppy dressing in sight.  In fact, there are only three ingredients – tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Oh, sure, you could get all fancy and add extra virgin olive oil and arugula and oregano and black pepper, but I say simplify your to-do list at least this time. Let the wonderful flavors take you away from your harried existence into the laid-back fantasy world that summer is supposed to be. The only rule is that you use the best ingredients – no hot house tomatoes or shrink-wrapped mozz from the dairy case; go with the good stuff from your local farmer’s market and cheese shop.

All you do is gather tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Chunk the tomatoes and mozz and, if needed, tear the basil leaves. You want to be able to eat all three simultaneously to start that party in your mouth. Skewer a tomato (cherry or chunk), then a basil leaf and finally a morsel of mozzarella on a toothpick. Drizzle with a little high-quality olive oil if you want. Pop the tasty trio in your mouth and relish slowly. It’s summer, after all, and at least some of the livin’ should be easy.


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