We traveled to France for our April Progressive Eats’ dinner party and this simple Salade de Tomates et Fromage was my contribution. Composed of perfectly ripe tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette, I took a cue from the French and used top notch ingredients which is imperative for the most delicious results.
Heirloom Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella
I dream of this sort of tomato and mozzarella salad all winter when eyeing those piles of hard, pale tomatoes in the produce department. It’s a long wait till nearly July to get those juicy homegrown or farmers’ market gems, though some of the upscale markets will have heirloom tomatoes before then if you’re lucky. And if you do find some of those coveted heirlooms, hunt down some buffalo mozzarella—softer and creamier than the more common cow’s milk version. Worth the splurge once in a while. And make sure to use the best balsamic vinegar you can find. The well aged balsamic I use is sweet and syrupy. You may want to add a bit of sugar to your vinaigrette if you don’t have access to a fine vinegar, though the French will also eat this salad with just a drizzle of red wine vinegar, so that’s another option.
French or Italian?
I ate my weight in Caprese salads when in Italy a few years ago, but then two summers ago, I found the same combination of ingredients on numerous French menus. Over the past few years, I’ve made myriad French salads as I cooked my way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, and this salad didn’t ring a bell. But then I remembered Dorie’s Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad and realized it was just another twist on this winning combination of ingredients. I’ve also added kalamata olives and served these tomatoes over a bed of spinach. The options are endless. But remember my advice; with so few ingredients, do not make this tomato salad without the freshest, best quality ingredients you can find. Bon appetit!
Join us for the Flavors of France!
- Tarte á l’Oignon – French Onion Tart from Spice Roots
- Gougeres filled with Bechamel aux Champignons from Pastry Chef Online
- French Carrot Salad from Stetted
- Salade de Tomates et Fromage from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Provencal Vegetable Soup Au Pistou from Mother Would Know
- Duck Breasts a l’Orange from The Heritage Cook
- Fig and Anise Bread from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Zucchini Summer Squash Tomato Gratin from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Kir Royale from Miss in the Kitchen
- Lemon Glazed Madeleines from Barbara Bakes
- Triple-Layer Chocolate Macaroon Cake from François Payard from Creative Culinary
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is the Flavors of France and is hosted by Jane Bonacci who blogs at The Heritage Cook. Join us and make something unique and delicious!
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
Serves: 4 servings
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, different colors and sizes preferable
- Two balls of fresh buffalo mozzarella (if available) or one ball plus some bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
- 2-4 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves or chopped basil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup best quality aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar, optional if balsamic isn't well aged
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Slice tomatoes and arrange on a platter. Slice the mozzarella and place slices (or bocconcini) over tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper.
- Whisk together vinegar, mustard, sugar if using, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking till emulsified. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad before serving.