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October 1999 Issue
Surf and Salad
by Philip R. Gantt
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Basil and Tomato Salad

This is an elegant and delicious salad that can be served for either a regular dinner or an elegant meal. It is also suitable for a healthy lunch alternative. The contrast of red, green and white in this salad makes for an impressive presentation for that special occasion.
  • 2 large vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (other soft cheese may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
First, put the garlic into the olive oil and set aside for at least 1/2 hour, preferably longer. This allows the flavor of the garlic to penetrate the olive oil. The garlic may be used in the salad or strained out. Virgin olive oil is preferred for salads, as the flavor is more delicate than regular olive oil.

Rinse and pat dry the basil before using. Break the leaves from the stems and arrange them on a serving dish.

The tomatoes selected for this salad should be a vine ripened variety for best flavor. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized chunks and arrange on top of the bed of basil leaves.

Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top. You may select any soft cheese for this salad. I used a Mexican soft cheese called Queso Fresco. Fresh mozzarella can also be used. You might even try cottage cheese of the low cal variety if you are concerned about fat intake.

Finally, sprinkle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of the salad. Balsamic vinegar is preferred because of its unique properties and wonderful flavor. You will find that the sweetness of the basil and tomatoes contrast pleasantly with the slightly sour nature of the vinegar.

Serve promptly and enjoy!

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
 

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