Cooking Corner: Caprese Salad

As temperatures begin to heat up, enjoy this refreshing salad by itself or as the precursor to any meal. Served cold and made of just a handful of ingredients, Caprese is a light, Italian salad whose presentation betrays its simplicity. The simple combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil is sure to satisfy.

Three large vine-ripened tomatoes
One pound fresh mozzarella
10 to 15 fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Begin by slicing the tomatoes and the mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Layer the tomato and mozzarella slices with whole basil leaves around the edge of a large dinner plate. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the layered slices, then add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the salad to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes and serve at room temperature. An alternate serving suggestion would be to use the same ingredients in a sandwich on focaccia bread. Consider adding cucumber for an extra crunch.

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