It seems the Mediterranean Diet has been all the rage as of late and with the beginning of a new year, I thought it would be nice to start things off with a fresh and flavorful dish. This diet could decrease the risk of developing an array of cardiovascular diseases. It could also help to lower the risk of diabetes, cancer neurodegenerative diseases, and premature death. One of the components of this diet is to incorporate healthy fats and fresh fruits into what you’re eating. When tomatoes are consumed with healthier fats, such as olive oil, they help to amplify the body’s absorption of their extraordinary benefits.
Tomatoes are a large part of the Mediterranean diet. There is nothing better than a sweet and juicy tomato. Since moving to Maine, we have enjoyed having access to tomatoes on the vine, locally grown by Backyard Farms in Madison. This company’s tomatoes are consistently fresh and available at our local Hannaford supermarket. These tomatoes are the closest you’ll get to garden-fresh. They actually remind me of the tomatoes I have enjoyed during my last visit to Italy. I actually enjoyed this very dish the last time I was there and with the pairing of a flavorful-filled red wine, this will make you feel as though you too, are on your way to enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Serves: 8, Calories Per Serving: 147
4 Slicing or Beefsteak Tomatoes
8 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese
4 Tablespoons Shredded Fresh Basil
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Basil Sprig to Garnish
Mary Berry has become a popular presence in our household and we recently acquired her Complete Cookbook filled with inspirational recipes. After perusing the six hundred and fifty recipes contained in this book, I found this mozzarella, tomato and basil recipe best fit for this Mediterranean theme. I would like to thank Mary Berry and I can’t wait to try more recipes in the future from this incredible collection.
For Peeling the Tomatoes
Cut out the cores and then score each tomato with an “x” at the base. Immerse in boiling water until the skins start to split. Then quickly transfer to cold water. When cool, peel off the skin. Thinly slice the tomatoes.
Arranging the Ingredients
Slice the mozzarella and arrange along with the tomatoes slices alternately on a plate, making sure they overlap one another.
For the Finishing Touches
During the summer, I enjoy growing basil in my herb garden and last year, I decided to bring one of my plants indoors for the colder months. This can be a risky endeavor, being that the house gets pretty cold and the sun can be quite elusive during the winter. As you might know, basil isn’t very cold tolerant, thrives in six to eight hours of daily sunlight, and prefers well-drained soil. Well, my bringing in the basil has paid off and my plant is thriving. Fresh basil can be very pricey at the grocery store and I’m happy to say I have been using my basil quite frequently this winter. I was also happy that I could use my home-grown plant for this recipe.
Just before serving this dish, sprinkle with the basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to your taste. To finish, garnish with a basil sprig and voila!