Fresh Tomatoes

There’s nothing more wonderful and refreshing in late August and early September as a Tomato Basil Salad.  I know it’s pretty simple to make and there are many renditions of it, but I wanted to share with you the way my Italian Grandmothers’ would make this salad, (I personally think it is the only way).  I grew up in an Italian family – big on eating, talking, and laughing.  Food was the focus of ever get-together…it still is.  The salad is our family favorite this time of year.  Great for lunch with a hunk of crusty bread or perfect for dinner with a beef steak hot off the grill.  The key to this salad is the freshness of the ingredients topped off with a great tasting extra virgin olive oil.


Nanna’s Tomato Basil Salad

2 medium fresh ripe tomatoes*

8 large basil leaves

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

Extra virgin olive oil*

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut each tomato into 4 thick slices and lay out on serving platter overlapping slightly; sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Slice mozzarella cheese (with a serrated knife) into 8 – 1/2” thick slices or the same thickness as the tomato slices.  Sprinkle the cheese slices lightly with salt before slipping in between the tomato slices.
  3. Tuck the basil leaves between the cheese and tomato (on top of the cheese and under the tomato).
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, finish with a touch more salt, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Serve within 1 hour of preparing.  The longer it sits, the juicier it gets.  Heals of crusty bread are perfect for sopping up the juices.

*Note: Never refrigerate your tomatoes – store them on your kitchen window sill and eat them within 4-5 days – you will be rewarded with great flavor.  Once you cut into your tomatoes – use them within 24 hours of slicing.

There are many brands of Extra Virgin Olive Oil available.  I use a name brand that has nice flavor and fits my budget for cooking and I found this great organic olive oil at our food co-op that I use for salads (such as this one) and finishing off dishes.  It’s a bit more expensive, but I use more sparingly since the flavor is more intense – a drizzle goes along way. 

Posted by kathleenchanna



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