Caprese Salad and BLT Bar

Menu fatigue, heat, plus the endless parade of dishes may have you feeling a little less than enthusiastic about cooking this week. Tomato season to the rescue! Whether you visit a farmers’ market or mask up and trek through the store, you can be sure tantalizing tomatoes await. Make the most of what mother nature gives you this week and just keep it simple. Here are two ways to use fresh, in season tomatoes to the max. 

Big, ripe juicy tomatoes practically beg to be used in a sandwich. Make dinner a little less daunting with a do-it-yourself BLT platter. Plate up chilled, leafy lettuce, fresh sliced tomatoes, and crispy bacon. Set out bread, mayo, salt, and pepper. Add in extras like cheese, avocado, or sliced hard boiled eggs to add to the sandwiches, or serve alongside. Have kids help with this easy set up and let them be in charge of toasting the bread. That was pretty easy, right?

I can Caprese at a moment’s notice and so can you. A lightning quick Caprese salad can be a nice and easy lunch. Sure, it’s an appetizer, but it’s also a light supper if you add a little oomph to it.  Be ready to go by keeping fresh mozzarella at the ready in your fridge. Try different varieties like burrata, bocconcini, or Ciliegine, the mini mozzarella balls packaged in salted water.  

You can morph the tomato/mozzarella combination an endless number of ways. Try adding cherry tomatoes, different colors of tomatoes, or several varieties all together on one plate. Vary the mozzarella. Instead of the traditional round slices, use bocconcini. Faster than slicing, just scatter over tomatoes. Easy, right? Try adding fruit. Chilled melon wrapped with just a whisp of prosciutto is bracingly cool and refreshingly surprising. In season peaches, plums, and nectarines are all great add-ins, and I really like using blackberries for a jolt of color. 

Here are a few tips to get the most out of that Caprese. Start with ripe tomatoes. Not too ripe, mind you, but not underripe, either. Salt the tomatoes and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients to really bring out their juices. Any salt will work, but if you have flaky sea salt it is worth using here, as is good quality olive oil. Don’t waste! Slice any left over tomato into chunks and store in a small, covered container, ready to toss into tomorrow’s salad.

Caprese Salad

  • fresh ripe tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • fresh mozzarella 
  • prosciutto
  • sliced cantaloupe
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar or glaze 
  • fresh basil chiffonade

Slice tomatoes about 1/8” thick and arrange on a platter. Season generously with salt and set aside. Slice the mozzarella into thin rounds, roughly the same thickness of the tomatoes. Wrap thin slices of prosciutto around the melon slices. Season tomatoes with freshly ground black pepper. Add mozzarella slices and melon to platter then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Top with basil. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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