Caprese Salad

This combination of fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella (particularly if you can find water buffalo mozzarella), topped with extra-virgin olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, can make a meal. Even though aged balsamic vinegar de Modena is expensive, a little goes a long way.

2 large ripe tomatoes, such as beefsteak, heirloom, or Roma
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 cup, packed, fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

Slice the tomatoes into approximately 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange on two plates. Slice the mozzarella to the same thickness and place on top of the tomato slices.
Finely chop the basil with a very sharp knife and combine in small bowl with the oil. Spoon the dressing over the tomato and cheese slices. Serve.

Note: For the traditional Italian version, stop here. I've never been served balsamic vinegar on Caprese salad in either Italy or France. Never. But, it's sooooo much better if you do drizzle a little over the salad.

Makes servings.
Per serving: calories, g total fat (g saturated), mg cholesterol, g dietary fiber, g carbohydrate, g protein, mg sodium.