still summer please

The back-to-school commercials start earlier every year. We’re at the halfway mark of summer. Enjoy the moment and celebrate the season.

Every year we try and grow a different variety of tomato. We learned years ago that cherry tomatoes can become extremely invasive. They reseeded and took root everywhere from an empty, broken pot to a crack in a path behind the house.

A summer tomato straight from the vine is one of the best ingredients for lunch or dinner outside on the patio. We have a nice batch of Kumato tomatoes. A Kumato tomato is considered to be a brown tomato. The Kumato tomatoes are a bit smaller than some of the larger, bright red varieties available this time of year.

The dark amber layers of the Kumato tomato make for a colorful caprese salad with some creamy mozzarella and basil leaves. Dressed simply, with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the salad makes for an easy, no-cooking-required meal.

Buffalo mozzarella is a regular offering in Italy. According to The New York Times when you get a fresh ball of mozzarella in a local cheese shop in Italy it’s assumed that it is buffalo mozzarella.

You need to specifically ask for a cow milk mozzarella if that’s what you want.

Trader Joe’s carries a variety of buffalo mozzarella that we found last summer. The buffalo mozzarella in Italy is pulled and created that day. The cheese suspended in a tub of water at the local Trader Joe’s is the closest we will get.

The slightly pungent flavor of the cheese pairs perfectly with the Kumato tomatoes. The dark stripes of the Kumato tomato makes the mozzarella look as white as clouds in a summer sky. The salt draws out the tomato juices, that mix with the fruity extra virgin olive oil, and the tart contrast of the balsamic vinegar.

There are just a few ingredients that make this dish. A nice twist to this salad is a Himalayan pink salt we also found at Trader Joe’s. The sparkling, bubble gum pink crystals add a briny salt flavor.

You want to use any sea salt with a little moderation since it has a very pronounced taste. Be sure and have a crusty loaf of bread to soak up the juices left behind from your caprese salad. And make every effort to enjoy these days of summer dining. It goes too fast.

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