Simple summer salad

16 Jul


Whenever I transform a recipe into a gluten-free version, I always worry about evidence of the alterations. Will other people taste the strangeness, the inexplicable differentness, the . . . gluten-freeness of this dish? I always wonder. So if I can completely follow a recipe from my previous life, I rejoice.

The simple caprese salad is one of those unaltered favorites. I first discovered it at an Italian restaurant (and now I almost dread seeing it on a menu since the dish is usually the only gluten-free, vegetarian one available at many establishments), but I enjoy it most homemade.

I start by thickly slicing one hot-house tomato and arranging the slices on a plate (I usually use a refrigerated tomato, but last night, after “shopping hungry,” I assembled this salad immediately upon arriving home, and the room-temperature tomato gave the dish an unexpected, fresh-from-the garden flavor.). I next top the tomato slices with whole leaves of fresh basil—and revel in the distinct, earthy fragrance of the herb. Then I add slices of BelGioioso fresh mozzarella cheese, guaranteed gluten free by the company. I find this cheese’s flavor and texture far superior to any cheese’s I’ve tried in an Italian restaurant. (I prefer the large, round portions of fresh mozzarella packaged in water. The cheese spoils quickly, however, so use it promptly.). Finally, I drizzle olive oil over the salad and salt generously. Simple, unaltered, and naturally gluten free!

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