Life in the Tuscan countryside is deeply connected to the earth and its seasons and at the Tuscan table, simplicity is key: when your ingredients are fresh and alive with real nourishment, you can make meals that are rich in flavor with no fuss at all. This classic salad is a case in point.
Here, ripe, luscious tomatoes paired with mozzarella and mouthwatering, fragrant basil make a salad that sings with pleasure, and typifies the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. And it‘s all so simple.
16 ounces fresh mozzarella (buffalo-milk is preferred but not absolutely essential)
4 stems opal basil (or plain basil, if opal is unavailable)
4 large fresh vine-ripened organic tomatoes
Zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby organic arugula
1. Tear apart the mozzarella into roughly 1-inch chunks. Set aside.
2. Gently tear the leaves from the stems of the basil and set them aside, discarding the stems.
3. Slice the tomatoes in half, then slice into 1/4-inch half-moons. Set aside.
4. Mix the mozzarella, basil, lemon zest and juice, and tomatoes together with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper and add more oil if you think it necessary.
5. Arrange the arugula on individual salad plates. Pile the salad on top and serve.
Serves 4 – 6.
Adapted from The Tomato Festival Cookbook, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander (Storey Books, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by Lawrence Davis-Hollander. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Tomato Festival Cookbook, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander (Storey Books, 2004).