This salad is as delicious as it is easy to create.
Salads are undergoing a kind of PR re-branding at the moment. For a long time the word salad would evoke the picture of a few soggy lettuce leaves and a chunk of watery cucumber served with quiche. Today salads are often the proud center piece of a meal however – bowls piled high with vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, meat and cheeses: a beautiful array of colour and texture as delicious for the eye as they are for the mouth. The humble lettuce leaf has been upgraded to rocket, kale or spinach and the cucumber is usually spiralized or pickled to add a new dimension of flavour.
As you may be able to tell I relish in this reinvention of the salad and in the coming weeks I will be sharing a selection of vibrant summer salads with you all – my own input into the movement!
Today I am starting this series off with a twist on the simple Caprese salad. As with all the best Italian recipes the Caprese asks for very few ingredients (tomato, basil and mozzarella) and instead relies on the quality of produce to bring flavour. I have retained the simplicity and short ingredient list but tweaked the method sightly by macerating the tomatoes in a mixture of olive oil, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper – this softens and sweetens the tomatoes brings a new depth to the salad. These tomatoes are then mixed with the mild and creamy mozzarella and a little punch of pepper from the rocket for a fresh and flavoursome dish. Serve it as a lunchtime main, a side at a BBQ or with a selection of other salads for a healthy banquet.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 500 g cherry tomatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 large bunch of basil, finely sliced
- salt and pepper
- 100 g rocket
- 150 g fresh mozzarella
- In a bowl mix together the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and half of the basil. Leave this to rest for 30 minutes so that the tomatoes can marinate.
- On a serving platter toss together the rocket and remaining basil leaves. Pour the tomatoes on top of the leaves and then tear over the fresh mozzarella. Top everything off with a last drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle over any extra basil leaves.
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