Our local farmers' markets are bursting with fresh produce that is providing lots of great eating at our house. For as long as possible we will be feasting on sweet corn and tomatoes. I've been roasting and freezing tomatoes, making gazpacho and fresh uncooked tomato sauce for pasta. But my favorite for both flavor and ease is Caprese salad.
According to Epicurious.com Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for folks looking for a light lunch. Its ingredients were tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar so mine's not authentic but it's the way we like it.
I don't have enough sun or space to grow my own tomatoes but my garden does offer three kinds of basil. So we vary the salad with the type of basil and tomatoes we use. It may have been created to satisfy lunch-goers, but I am happy eating it as an appetizer, side dish or the whole meal. Not many dishes are so pretty or so flavorful.
We had Caprese salad the other night after an entree of Beaufort Soused Corn and Shrimp. The link takes you to a recipe that is identical to the one I follow from Christopher Idone's coffee table cookbook, "Glorious American Food." We mostly enjoy corn on the cob but I love this recipe that uses it off the cob.
The waters around Beaufort were once plentiful with shrimp who made their way into many dishes, including pies, which is the origin of this dish. Idone ditched the crust and added a lemony vinaigrette instead. I usually only make this once a summer but it's yummy as well as easy. The recipe serves 8. I use a scant pound of shrimp for the two of us which leaves us with enough for dinner the next night. But I make the entire recipe of vinaigrette because I love the flavor and don't want to run short.