How else would we spend the weekend?! Actually, we’re not shooting any hoops, but making some dinner instead. Sometimes a hot day ends and cooking something hot just doesn’t work. Today was indeed, one of those days—Hot. I decided to keep things cooler and make a new take on marinated salad. My Mom used to make marinated salads often with cucumbers, tomatoes & onions, in Italian dressing. Simple, and I loved it! This Italian marinated salad was born with some of those same flavors, but adding others ingredients I turn to often like basil, balsamic & fresh mozzarella. Texture and being festive were required, so we’re breaking out the melon baller for this one!
We’re going to merge ingredients of a fresh caprese with a marinated salad, to end up with one light pre-dinner dish. If you’ve been purposefully trying to avoid your stove all weekend like I have, then this one’s for you! We’re talking baby heirloom tomatoes, mini cherry-size fresh mozzarella, cucumber, basil, sweet onion, and a quick marinade featuring balsamic & basil extra virgin olive oil. Mmmm mmm.
Our salad will host some similarly shaped ingredients, giving us a cold creation worthy of a summer evening. Grab a good baguette & glass of wine, and our Sunday is complete.
Let’s get the ball rolling shall we:
- 1 basket mixed baby heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- 1 large cucumber (or two small, cut lenghtise and melon balled)
- 8 oz- ⅓ oz, cherry-size fresh mozzarella cheese (Ciliegine, balled)
- ¼ cup sweet white onion, chopped finely
- 1 T fresh basil, chopped
- S&P, to taste
- 1 tsp Italian herb blend (dried)
- 1 T aged balsamic
- 1 T basil infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- ½ tsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- In mixing bowl combine extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, S&P, lemon zest, basil, whisking well.
- Slice large and wide cucumber lengthwise, and use a melon baller tool to make small, melon ball sized cucumber rounds.
- To marinade, add melon-balled cucumber, cherry-size heirloom tomatoes, cheery-size fresh mozzarella balls, finely chopped onion, coating well.
- If you desire more marinade, add equal parts more balsamic and EVOO, S&P and coat well.
- Let salad marinade in owl with plastic wrap, and if not serving for a couple of hours, transfer to fridge and remove about ½ hour before serving, tossing well.
This is very simple to assemble, not to mention it’s quite colorful. The Fresh Basil Extra virgin Olive oil (We Olive), made this incredibly delicious. We didn’t need to add too much of any one component because our farmer’s market baby heirloom tomatoes were just down-right ripe. The melon-balled cucumber & cherry-sized fresh mozzarella are playful ways to turn our salad into a summer stunner! You can easily let this sit ahead to become more flavorful, but it is ready to go the second you stir it. I like this one alongside a grilled chicken breast for a simple and healthy dinner. I also loved having our marinated salad with warm slices of a sourdough baguette to dip into the balsamic/EVOO dressing. That might be the best part!
It ended up a beautiful weekend, and though warm, we were still able to stay creative in the kitchen. Buon Appetito!Pin It