Easy Insalata Caprese

It's tomato time! If you're a gardener, you might be wondering what you can do with all those luscious tomatoes growing in your backyard right now. One of the easiest, yet most delicious, dishes to enjoy at the height of summer, when tomatoes are plentiful, is Insalata Caprese (named for the Island of Capri, Italy).

The secret to this delightful dish is using only the freshest ingredients. When served with fresh bread and a glass of chilled white wine, Insalata Caprese makes the perfect summer lunch.

Here's all you need:

2 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes that are red, juicy and flavorful and have never been refrigerated (Get them at your local farmer's market if you don't have your own backyard vegetable garden)

8 to 10 leaves of fragrant young basil (check for basil at your farmer's market if you don't grow your own)

1 lb. good quality fresh, moist mozzarella (The best mozzarella for this dish is made from buffallo milk - mozzarella di bufala - but that's hard to find, so cow's milk mozzarella - mozzarella fior di latte - works well for this, too)

1/4 c. genuine extra-virgin olive oil

To make the salad:

Slice the fresh mozzarella and the tomatoes into rounds. Alternate slices of mozzarella and tomato on a platter (or individual salad plates), overlapping them for effect. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle them over the slices of tomato and mozzarella.

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer and owner of the Three Angels Gourmet Co. which produces a unique line of "heavenly gourmet mixes" for sale at www.threeangelsgourmet.com">http://www.threeangelsgourmet.com and through gift shops, Christian bookstores, gourmet food stores, and gift basket companies across the country.

For daily food tips and other fun food information, visit the Three Angels Gourmet Co. blog at www.threeangelsgourmet.blogspot.com">http://www.threeangelsgourmet.blogspot.com

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