This basic dish is a great way  to take advantage of the different varieties of tomatoes available in the Northeast at the end of the summer.  While this salad may not win creativity points, it is worth posting because it is a classic combination and requires no cooking. I like to julienne the basil (so quick—see below) to spread the herb’s flavor out more evenly. The leftovers can be put into a sandwich for lunch the next day, or even used to make a fancy grilled cheese. 

Note: If you use really fresh and delicious heirloom tomatoes, vegans can enjoy this salad without the cheese: just add a bit more salt to the tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh, salted mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch slices. If you can find buffalo mozzarella, that would be best.
  • 2-3 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 15-20 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Layer the mozzarella and tomato in alternating slices on a large serving plate.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Julienne the basil: Stack 5-10 basil leaves in a pile, facing the same direction. Roll the basil leaves up into a tight roll. Then, slice the basil into thin strips.  Repeat with remaining basil leaves.
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