Caprese Salad

"You'd better take a picture of that for your blog," our friend, Paul, said when he was over for dinner last week.  I blinked.  Caprese salad?  Was that really a recipe?  But, I obligingly took the snap anyway.

This classic tomato and mozzarella salad hits new heights at the end of summer when basil is plentiful and fresh pesto is only a Cuisinart-button-push away.  A little dollop of pesto between the tomato and mozzarella layers is the secret ingredient here. And may be, just maybe, a reason to call it a recipe.

Caprese Salad
Serves 4-5

2 large heirloom tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (optional)
Large ball of mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh pesto (optional)

Wash and dry the tomatoes.  Slice them into 1/4" or slightly thicker slices.  Lay the slices in a single layer on a platter.  Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and olive oil, if desired.  (Skip the olive oil drizzle if you are using pesto.)  Drop a small dollop of pesto on each slice of tomato.

Slice the mozzarella ball into thin slices. Cut some slices smaller to fit the size of the tomato slices.  Place the mozzarella slices on the tomatoes.  (The mozzarella should be slightly smaller so that the tomato can still be seen.)  Add a basil leaf to the top of each stack.  Voila and bon appetit!