This is the third post in a series on How to Use 3lbs of Heirloom Tomatoes. See the first post here, and the second post here.
According to…well…some article in some reputable magazine somewhere that I can no longer find, caprese salad is THE salad of the summer. If you don’t know what caprese salad is…well…please get with it, you’re a decade late. I’ll tell you anyway because I’d hate for you to not know – Caprese salad is basically the combination of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and sometimes a touch of balsamic vinegar (though I sometimes prefer mine without). It’s truly something special. So special, in fact, that everyone everywhere is doing a caprese of some form – elegant with colorful slices of giant heirlooms and fresh mozzarella, or rustic with chunks of bright red tomato and cubed mozzarella, or bite-sized with cherry tomatoes and bocconcini (tiny rounds of fresh mozzarella), or uber-modernized with sphericized globules of tomato and cheese flavor (www.thebazaar.com)
Since basil is quite likely my favorite green thing, I was obviously going to have to caprese my heirloom tomatoes (yes I did just create a verb out of the word caprese…this is my blog…I will do as I please with the English language…everyone else does, word?.). A few problems with this plan though:
1. Caprese is kinda over done. Like a said, it’s THE salad of the summer. I would be unoriginal if I did a classic caprese.
2. Melon. (“Huh?”) I have too much melon. (“So what?”). I need to use up my melon. (“What does that have to do with caprese salad?”). Exactly. (“Huh?”)
Melon Caprese Salad (“Oh…okay…cool”).
So, you’re thinking I just added melon to a caprese and called it original, right? Too easy! I switched out the cheese too. A real splurge too – burrata (basically mozzarella plus extra cream!). I understand if you’ve never had burrata. It’s hard to find, kinda fancy, and therefore expensive. But if you do one nice thing for yourself this summer, do this: skip your Starbucks for a week and go buy some burrata cheese (don’t worry, your pumpkin spice lattes will still be around later this fall…your heirloom tomatoes will not). Trust me, one bite of burrata and you will die of pleasure (or caffeine withdrawal) and go straight to creamy, cheesy heaven (I heard they have pumpkin spice lattes there, too!) Oh and by the way, burrata in Italian means “buttered”…now do you believe me? Thought so!
So, you could stop right there and have a beautiful and delicious new rendition of THE popular summer salad. BUT, if you have guests coming over, you might as well go all out and really knock their flip-flops off. So, what goes really well with melon? Prosciutto. Bingo. Add some ribbons of prosciutto to the top of the salad and you’ve achieve a whole new level edible nirvana. You’re welcome.
Melon Caprese Salad
4 heirloom tomatoes
1 medium-sized ball burrata cheese
2 slices prosciutto, cut into ribbons (optional)
Slice, or roughly chop tomatoes and melon and arrange on serving plate. Using a spoon, scoop small spoonfuls of burrata cheese between pieces of tomato and melon. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Scatter ribbons of basil and prosciutto over the top of the salad to finish. Viola! Enjoy!