tomatoes – a mix of ripe cherry, beefsteak and heirloom
balls of fresh mozzarella (White Gold is locally made and available at Co-op) – 1 per person
1 bunch fresh basil
high quality olive oil
Maldon (or other) sea salt and black pepper
This is essentially insalata caprese, with the
addition of cucumbers. Most everyone has made this salad – hundreds of times in my case – but it’s one of those dishes that’s transformed from the ordinary to the sublime when the ingredients are all at their peak in summer. Serve it with a glass of lightly chilled rosé for a taste of summer at any time of the year.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the larger tomatoes into thick slices or quarters. Slice the cumbers on the diagonal 1/2-inch-thick and arrange them decoratively on a platter along with the tomatoes. Tear or slice the mozzarella and distribute it evenly around the tomatoes and cucumbers. Chop the basil, leaving some whole leaves, and sprinkle over top, reserving the whole leaves for garnish. Drizzle the salad generously with the best olive oil you can afford and sprinkle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Dust with Maldon salt flakes and a little ground pepper and garnish with the basil leaves. This salad takes no time to make and is best done just before serving.