Yesterday was bright and sunny when I woke up. There was a bit of a chill in the air but overall it was sunny and clear.
I went up to the lodge and got the grill ready. My mother in law, sister-in-law and nephew were coming up for Sunday brunch.
It was a perfect spring day. I was even thinking we may set up a table on the deck and eat outside. Was I wrong. Weather can change fast in the mountains.
I starting grilling and decided to take some pictures from the deck.
It was warm and sunny. Next thing I know I spot a white mass out over one of the hills. It almost looked like smoke.
As the mass began to move and drift toward the lodge I realized the it was bringing a chilly wind. It began to spread out and when it reached the lodge I realized it was snow.
Snow….in May. Well I do live in the Rocky Mountains.
So here I am standing on the deck in cut offs and sandals grilling in the snow. It made me laugh because almost every time I pull out the grill it starts raining. I should grill more often since we are having a dry spring.
Thankfully I was done grilling and could move in a light the fireplace and relax with my family.
Ok, so back to the food….I was planning on featuring a summer salad. This is a salad that we make nearly everyday during the summer.
But how can I feature a salad when it is snowing? Shouldn’t I feature a stew or soup? Well since the rest of the country is not blanketed in snow I will go ahead with my summer salad. It kept snowing all night. Most of the snow melted on impact but we got some great precipitation that was needed.
In the warm spring and summer months my family enjoys salads nearly every dinner. Sliced ripe red tomatoes, rich and creamy cheese, and bright fresh herbs is our favorite combination.
This salad is made with tomatoes (Compari vine ripe tomatoes from Costco), fresh mozzarella, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and fresh thyme.
Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella and Balsamic Salad
The key to getting the best flavor from this salad is to thinly slice the mozzarella which can be done if you freeze it for about half an hour or until slightly firm but not hard. With the thinner mozzarella you can marinate it with balsamic and olive oil and the flavor will permeate the creamy cheese.
8-12 vine ripe compari tomatoes (I used the tomatoes from our local Costco but the salad is best with fresh tomatoes in season)
1 lb fresh mozzarella ( I used Bel Gioioso brand)
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar (I used my trusty Kirkland Signature Brand from Costco, yes I know I love Costco..)
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove minced finely
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (you can also use basil, oregano or mint)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Slice your mozzarella thinly and marinate with balsamic, olive oil and garlic. Let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours in your refrigerator.
Slice tomatoes and arrange tomatoes, mozzarella with marinade and fresh herbs on a plate. Drizzle a bit more vinegar and olive oil and top with fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a first course with crusty fresh-baked bread or as a side dish with a nice piece of grilled meat.
Here are a few variations on this salad:
Fresh tomato, feta cheese, mint and kalamata olives
Fresh tomato, feta cheese, oregano and kalamata olives
Fresh tomato, blue cheese and bacon and arugula
Fresh tomato, brie cheese and pancetta
More great tomato salad recipes:
This one from Jamie Oliver. (I just love how he uses tomatoes of different sizes and shapes.)
Or try this one from Martha.
Here is Elsies’ beautiful version of the tomato mozzarella combo.
I enjoy to just sitting and watching my tomato starts and dream that this season will be long enough for us to actually harvest some tomatoes. Last year our crops froze before they had a chance to ripen. We are much more prepared this year. Wish me luck!
If I am not successful I will have the Boulder Farmers Market at my disposal and in late summer the farmers in the area will have a dizzying array of tomatoes to choose from.
Now I will resume my fresh tomato dreams…..