What better way to end the season than with a dish that is the essence of an Italian summer garden…tomatoes and basil. Each summer one of my favorite antipasto dishes is a caprese salad of sliced vine ripe tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil that is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. If topped with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, so much the better.
Another way to present the dish is to have it a look like a tomato sandwich and dress it with a light pesto vinaigrette.
Both of these examples only take minutes to prepare, look beautiful on a plate and have an amazing flavor. There is no recipe needed for this dish. Just use vine ripe tomatoes (heirloom for the ultimate taste) and the best quality ingredients that you can find.
Even though the tomato and basil plants have been pulled from my garden, it is not the end of my enjoyment of summer’s bounty. I have the last of the picked tomatoes sitting on trays in the kitchen waiting to be made into sauce for the freezer, bowls of cherry tomatoes that are being enjoyed on lunch salads and piles of basil leaves being made into pesto. A couple of the prettiest tomatoes are being saved for one more caprese salad. If you have a wonderful vine ripe tomato sitting in your kitchen, think about preparing one of the best Italian antipasto dishes there is…a caprese salad. Perfect for either a dinner party or a simple weeknight meal.