This salad is so fresh, so cool and bright, that I want to live inside it until the heat of this New Orleans summer passes. In this recipe from her new cookbook, A Change of Appetite, Diana Henry elevates the classic caprese combo of mozzarella, tomato, and basil with an addition of nectarine. The ripe fruit adds a juicy sweetness that I never realized was missing. Dressed with just olive oil and white balsamic, every element shows at its best. So simple, so smart.
Why I picked this recipe: This is an uncharacteristically easy recipe (you don't even whisk the dressing), and Henry describes it as being "one of the best salads in the book." Sign me up!
What worked: Everything. Even the tearing of the mozzarella adds something special, both visually and texturally, that slicing wouldn't provide.
What didn't: She says it can serve 4 as a main course, but two of us polished it off in a sitting. (That's a lot of cheese for two, I admit, but everything else was so light, I'm not going to apologize for it.)
Suggested tweaks: Just make more if you need to feed a group and this all you're serving.
- 3 nectarines
- 10 ounces tomatoes of mixed sizes and colors
- 8 ounces buffalo mozzarella, drained of whey
- Leaves from 1 large bunch of basil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Halve and pit the nectarines and cut each half into four equal wedges. Halve smaller plum tomatoes or quarter larger ones, and slice the large tomato. Tear the mozzarella coarsely into pieces.
Get a wide, shallow bowl and layer the salad components, seasoning and sprinkling with white balsamic and extra virgin oil as you work. Serve immediately.