Tuesday

October 21st, 2014

The Kosher Gourmet

Caprese is a light, fresh salad; the perfect quick and easy accompaniment to any summer meal

Diane Rossen Worthington

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Published August 13, 2014

Caprese is a light, fresh salad; the perfect quick and easy accompaniment to any summer meal
Caprese salad is made for the summer season. This classic Italian dish alternates vibrant red tomato slices with creamy mozzarella and fragrant, bright green basil leaves. It kind of reminds you of the colors of the Italian flag.

You don't even need a recipe for this well-loved salad. Pick the freshest, ripest tomatoes as the star component. In addition to the tomato, mozzarella and basil, all you need for garnishing is some fruity olive oil and salt and pepper.

Sometimes I like to freshen up the idea and give it a new look. Years ago I enjoyed a tomato and watermelon salad in East Hampton, New York and thought it would be the basis of a good alternative to the classic caprese salad.

Beautiful on a buffet table, this variation s a welcome surprise. Here, large red, ripe tomatoes are sliced and overlapped on a platter. The refreshing and texturally pleasing watermelon, cucumber and feta relish is dolloped on top of each tomato. Make sure to have a couple of large spoons for ease in serving.

SUMMER CAPRESE SALAD WITH WATERMELON, CUCUMBER AND FETA RELISH

SERVES: 6 to 8

RELISH

  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch diced seedless yellow or red watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch diced European cucumber
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped


.

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mixed greens, such as spring greens, arugula or mache
  • 6 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1. Combine all of the relish ingredients in a medium bowl carefully, making sure to not break the watermelon into smaller pieces. Reserve.

2. In a small bowl, add the red wine vinegar. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil and continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper.

3. Just before serving, arrange the mixed greens in the center of a large circular platter. Cut the tomatoes into 1 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a platter in a circular pattern overlapping.

4. Pour about half of the dressing over the relish and mix to combine. Taste for seasoning. Place a dollop of relish on each tomato slice. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Advance Preparation: Relish and dressing may be made up to 2 hours ahead, covered and kept at room temperature. It is best to finish this just before serving.

The Clever Cook Could:


  • Substitute diced or tiny balls of fresh mozzarella or crumbled goat cheese for the feta cheese.

  • Double the recipe. Use a very large platter or 2 platters.

  • Arrange the salad in stacks. Place a slice of tomato on the bottom of a salad plate and then a dollop of relish. Repeat 1 more time.

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    Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Holidays," and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host.

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