One of my favorite dishes is fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil. It is to die for good, especially when you get seriously fresh mozzarella.
Back in the day, my high school friend and I would visit her uncle in Little Italy. He owned a shop and during our visits he generously offered up mozzarella so fresh that it was still warm. I kind of got spoiled. Once you go fresh, it’s difficult to return to packaged goods.
Not only was the mozzarella oozing with freshness, but the tomatoes and basil were straight from the garden.
This Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Virgin “Salad” is a variation on that theme. I wanted to mix it up a bit; add more tomatoes (antioxidant girl told me to), a layer of avocado (got to love those good fats), and mix up a batch of virgin oil and balsamic vinegar to drizzle on. Less is more. Really!
This MT&V Salad makes for a satisfying and refreshing lunch!
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup virgin olive oil
4 whole Garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
8 whole Fresh medium tomatoes
1/2 avocado, ripe, cubed
1/4 lb. part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 dash salt
1 dash black pepper
DRESS IT: Pour the balsamic vinegar into a bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Once the two are incorporated into each other (no separation), stir in the finely chopped garlic and basil leaves. A few shakes of salt n’ pepper ought to do it.
Utilizing a sharp knife (dull is seriously dull), remove the stem ends from the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes into small wedges and place in a large salad bowl.
Cut the 1/2 of your avocado into cubes. (FYI … 1/2 of a medium sized avocado is approx. 140 calories.) Add avocado cubes to the tomatoes. Add the thinly sliced (and I mean thin!) mozzarella cheese slices.
Drizzle the dressing and gently mix together.
You can always add more if that’s not enough for you. You can save the reserve of the dressing for another salad another time. This is NOT the LAST SUPPER!!!
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve! Service immediately! With bread? Your choice!
Optional: For great taste and an artistic twist, place 3 basil leaves on each serving. Three leaves generally are more appealing to the eye than two leaves.
NOTE: I did a calorie/nutrition check for mozzarella on caloriecount.about.com. Apparently, part-skim mozzarella not only weighs in lower on the calorie front, but also weighs in higher on its nutritional grade. Note: Brands differ.
And … Avocado
140 Calories per half / grade: B
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