By Leigha Burnham
Better late than never. If you know me at all, you know that I do not live by procrastination or tardiness. I hate being late. I detest it. So much so, that it is probably the only real "beef" that I have had with the curator of this blog in our 17+ year marriage. He is usually late! We have had our fair share of arguments over that. I want to be 10 minutes early so that I can have the relief of not having missed anything. He wants to be 10 minutes late so that he can quietly slip in unnoticed. I'm more of a doer. He is more of an observer. I digress.
This is the third in my series on summer salads and I was supposed to have it posted on Sunday last. Well...it is Wednesday. Graduate work and motherhood beckoned and I answered. So, how do I come up with a last minute, throw-it-together-so-that-no-one-will-really-notice salad? Look to the Italians. Seriously! They may not be Georgians, but they know fresh ingredients and flavors like nobody's business! And they love a more relaxed way of life...maybe even a little tardiness. Here is a Southerner's take on an Italian classic: Insalata Caprese
1 fresh basil plant
bunch of fresh tomatoes from your garden
a good quality, store-bought mozzarella (I use Galbani brand)
a good quality olive oil (the darker the better, but I used what I had on hand)
a good quality balsamic vinegar (optional, as I didn't have any)
salt and pepper to taste
Wash your tomatoes and rinse your basil gently. Slice the tomato into thick slices and arrange on a platter. Salt and pepper your tomatoes. Open your mozzarella, drain liquid, and then cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on top of each tomato. Finally, add your basic leaves on top. The smaller leaves are more tender and look beautiful, but if you only have larger leaves, simply tear them in half. Drizzle the olive oil and optional balsamic over the caprese. You can let these sit for about 20-30 minutes before serving to let the flavors marry, but these didn't last that long on my table!
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire