Isn't it the most gorgeous/ simple combination of perfection on God's Green Earth? Red & white with a little green. I've told my kids the Italian flag is green, white & red because of basil, mozzarella & tomato. Correct me if I'm wrong Italians? (Hey, I also teach them Japan's flag is a obento with an umeboshi in the middle. Don't get me started on other countries)
This salad has my husband's stamp of 100% approval on it.
The story goes like this: The first time I invited Josh to dinner at our home was for Christmas Dinner so I was going all out trying to impress him. (of course I was) After working all day in the kitchen and then trying to look like I hadn't been working all day in the kitchen, I believe he was genuinely surprised. (you know, that face where he's impressed but trying not to look impressed? He didn't know I could) The part though where he decided to marry me & live happily ever after was when only a few guests nibbled at the tomato & mozzarella salad & by the end of the meal when everyone was packing in those last few desserts, he was contentedly sitting with two plates of tomatoes & mozzarella before him & happily scarfing down all the remainder. Murmuring his approval as he tilted the plate & downed the dressing as well.........and then of course we went & had 6 kids. THE END!!!
Well, if you can't get it by looking at the pictures I don't really know how to help you. Slice it, arrange it, sprinkle plenty of salt & pepper on it, rip some basil onto it, drizzle olive oil over it & that's it. Generally it's proper to use red-wine vinegar & extra virgin olive oil but I agree balsamic vinegar will do great too if you like that strong-manly taste. The above picture has some mixed nuts left over from my another dish but I thought it was purty.
Here's the alternative "summer veggie salad". Which I'm sorry to say did NOT get the DH's stamp of approval. Due to the presence of eggplant & zucchini. Slice & saute the veggies in olive oil & add them to the process. Roughly 75% of my kids liked it. (that's lemon thyme in the middle & I bet it would taste awesome sprinkled over the salad in place of basil.)
And if it's winter & you don't have any fresh basil, I wouldn't substitute the dry basil with it's "sawdust" consistency on top, it really doesn't go over too well. Just have it as is! (Note the black balsamic vinegar)
Note: Don't refrigerate too long before eating if you've salted it or a lot of the tomatoes juice will drain out. Plus it looks so nice with that "I-just-took-a- shower-in- olive- oil" look.