Everyone has that meal that makes their mouth sing. For Andrew, it’s likely a warm cookie bottom sundae. For me, it’s the combination of tomato, soft fior di latte cheese, basil, and balsamic vinegar. This salad is my absolute favourite and I always look for it on a menu at an Italian restaurant. It was included in Andrew’s proposal plan and we served at our rehearsal dinner. I like it a lot, okay.
What we’ve done here is amp it up a little with a basil oil and balsamic reduction. It’s not mandatory, by any means, but if you’re looking for a way to take this to a new level…here it is.
I realize I’m a little premature with this, as our tomatoes and basil in Southwestern Ontario won’t be at their peak for another few months; but after this weekend’s record breaking heat I couldn’t resist.
Often we serve this with bread, and spinach tossed lightly in balsamic and oil. A salad on a salad, if you will.
Serves 2 as a main dish
3 juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
1 ball (250g) of fior di latte (or buffalo mozzarella), sliced
10-15 basil leaves
salt and pepper
half a cup of loosely packed basil
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1. In a small saucepan add balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat. The vinegar should reduce by at least half over 5 minutes or so. Watch it – it can go too far and you don’t want to turn it into jam. Maybe you do. Allow to cool – it will take on a syrupy consistency as it cools.
2. Blend basil and olive oil in a small food processor until finely blended, about 30 seconds.
3. Arrange sliced tomatoes, basil, and cheese on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. If you’ve decided to do step 1 and 2 – great news. Drizzle your tomatoes with both. If you did not, a hit of your favourite balsamic and olive oil will suffice.