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*
Freshly ground black pepper
- Cut each tomato into 4 thick slices and lay out on serving platter overlapping slightly; sprinkle lightly with salt.
- 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.
- Tuck the basil leaves between the cheese and tomato (on top of the cheese and under the tomato).
- Drizzle with olive oil, finish with a touch more salt, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
- 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