Bountiful Basil

Monday, July 4, 2011
I have a challenge in my yard -- not enough sun. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all the shade and the trees that provide it, but it makes it hard to grow sun-loving vegetables, herbs and flowers. This summer I decided to plant many things in pots -- especially my herbs. Then I could move them as they needed more sun. They are all thriving -- especially the basil.

I've made pesto and have been making lots of other basil friendly dishes to use up the bounty. One of my favorites to make is Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Plate. I visited our Farmer's Market for fresh tomatoes (it will be awhile before mine are ready). This is perfect on the side of grilled meats or as a light supper all on it's on with some crusty bread.

Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Plate

2 balls (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella
2-4 large ripe tomato
1/2 cup fresh whole basil leaves
4-5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut an X at the blossom end of each tomato. Drop quickly into boiling water and then plunge into iced water. The peel will now slip right off. Peel each tomato using this method.

Chiffonade (this is generally accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then cutting across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife, producing fine ribbons) the basil, reserving some large leaves for garnish.

Use a serrated knife to halve the ball of mozzarella and then slice into 1/4-inch thick half moons (the fresh cheese is much easier to slice if you place it into the freezer for 30-40 minutes before slicing to firm it up -- don't forget it though). Slice the top and bottom off of the tomato; chop these pieces into a fine dice and set aside. Slice the tomato in half down through the center and then cut each half into 1/4-inch thick half moons.

Working in a circle on a dinner plate-sized serving platter, overlap the slices of mozzarella and tomatoes. Sprinkle cut basil over entire plate. Arrange the reserved diced tomatoes in the center of the plate and garnish with another basil leaf or two. Drizzle the olive oil over everything; sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Serve with a nice crusty bread, preferably homemade. Makes 4-6 servings.


  1. Annesphamily said...:

    What a beautiful photo of wonderful tasty dish! Enjoy your 4th and thanks for sharing. Anne

  1. Gert said...:

    Oh sounds amazing..and looks as well.

    xoxo Gert

  1. I made this earlier today, to take to my SIL's house for a poolside party!
    I leave my basil leaves whole and just layer them in the the mozzarella and tomato. I love growing my own herbs every summer. Used my own basil, chives, oregano and mint today.

  1. Carissa said...:

    We love this too! We just made it today for our gathering too. We call it a caprese salad.
    SO so yummy!!! I planted extra basil this year with pesto and this recipe in mind.

    Hope your gathering was wonderful!!!

  1. Ruby Jean said...:

    Okay I could SERIOUSLY eat that whole plate by myself.. :) I LOVE this kind of salad...

    Did you see the Peach,Basil and mozzarella salad I just posted...It was REALLY tasty...

    Hope you had a wonderful 4th

    P.S. I saw that you came by and followed...
    So happy to be visiting again with you...

  1. Amy Kinser said...:

    Hey Gail! This dish looks delicious. Thanks for sharing how to make it. Glad your basil is growing well.

  1. Karen said...:

    This looks so delicious! Glad you dropped by, I will be trying this - I too planted a herb pot and my basil has gone wild. My husband just asked me yesterday, what can we do with all the basil. I'm thinking of drying some too.

  1. Mecky said...:

    This looks so good. I love the smell of basil!

  1. farmlady said...:

    This is a lovely summer dish for any meal.
    Love the "how to do it" photos.
    I have everything but the mozzarella. It's on my grocery list.

  1. The salad looks great Gail and very festive in the blue dish! I haven't made it yet this season but I'm ready too:@)

  1. Marigene said...:

    OMG, that yummy caprese salad looks dazzling in that blue bowl, Gail!

  1. cindy said...:

    I wish mine looked that good!


  1. AshTreeCottage said...:

    That's one of my favorite salads and you have reminded me to serve it again!

    Susan and Bentley

  1. Pam said...:

    That looks yummy. I have an over-abundance of basil also and have been wondering what the heck I'm going to do with it all. Thanks for the ideas.

  1. Shug said...:

    It is 6:53 and I have not eaten dinner yet....You can only imagine how much my mouth is watering right now after seeing this post...This looks delicious....
    Gonna give it a try for sure..

  1. Honey at 2805 said...:

    Your picture looks so inviting! Just divine.

  1. Sue said...:

    I actually am growing basil in a pot this year! The SIL planted it for me- she probably got tired of me traipsing to her house to harvest hers...
    It's doing wonderful! Pesto w/lots of garlic- yum
    I need to buy some fresh mozzarella and do this! It looks wonderful, Gail.

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