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Mary's Elegant Tomato and Mozzarella Dish "My Friends Recipes"

(post, West End Farmers' Market)

Hello,

Even though these next few blogs are dedicated to quick and easy recipes I have inherited from my friends, I am going to sneak a small paragraph for a request.  There is a “Best Farmers Market” competition sponsored by Local Harvest and Care2.com.  Although the West End Farmers Market may not ever surpass the California markets with 5000 votes, we could get enough votes to be the best market in Virginia.  I strongly urge you to vote as soon as possible for our market at http://www.care2.com/farmersmarket/search/?state=VA.  The market could win money or cloth shopping bags to give out to customers.  Thanks.

Back to my friends quick and easy recipes.  This recipe is a favorite of my sister Mary.  It is elegant, tasty, you can display it two ways – one for a party platter and one for dinner, and it will take you less than 15 minutes to make.  When people taste it, they will oooh and aaahh and tell you what a terrific cook you are!

Ingredients for 4 People

2 – fresh from your local farmers market, juicy, medium sized tomatoes, any kind, heirloom, red, yellow, etc.

2 – balls of Mozzarella cheese equally approximately one pound of cheese.  Buy the good cheese, cheap mozzarella lacks the richness necessary to make this recipe work.

Kosher or Sea Salt – granulated.  Possibly 2 tablespoons, season to taste.  Again, use good salt, table salt lacks the popping melting quality of granular sea or kosher salt.  

Ground Pepper – to taste

3 basil leaves – cut up or dried basil - one to two tablespoons

Olive Oil – Extra Virgin is better.  It has a slight peppery bite that adds flavor to the mix.

For a Party:
Slice the tomatoes; not to fat, not to thin, about 1/8 of an inch.

Arrange the slices on a large platter or plate

Slice the Mozzarella: This is trickier than it sounds because the cheese is soft.  Experiment with how thin you can make the slices.  There is a natural limit and the slices should be about the same size as the tomatoes.  They will probably be lopsided and some fatter, some thinner, don’t worry.  

Place the Mozzarella slices on top of the tomatoes, covering them, but not overlapping the edges of the tomato.  Don’t worry if you have to put two slices of cheese on one tomato.  It will still look and taste great.

Sprinkle the tomato/cheese stack with the sea or kosher salt.  Make sure each piece has a nice amount.  When you put this stack in your mouth, the salt should provide an elegant counterpoint to the sweetness of the tomato and the fresh creaminess of the cheese.

Sparingly grind pepper over the stacks – just a little, just enough to give it a tiny bite.
  
Drizzle Olive Oil over the tomato/cheese stack.  Do not drown them; just make sure each one has some olive oil on it.

Chop up the basil leaves and scatter over the platter or shake dried basil over the platter.  Not to much, a little bit of seasoning goes a long way with this dish.  

You are done!  Take it to the party, put it out for appetizers – people will devour them, I promise

For Dinner:
Just chop the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and the same with the mozzarella.  Place both in a bowl together.  Sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, and a little pepper and toss so each piece has a little seasoning.  Pour olive oil into the bowl with the basil and toss again to mix.  Serve as a salad with dinner.  In a bowl in can be harder to make sure each piece is coated with olive oil, salt and basil, so do a few tastings before setting it on the table. 

As Julia Child used to say Bon Appetit!