By Crystal Grobe

Sunny weather brings on the anticipation of everything summer. Now that I live so close to the lakes in Minneapolis, I’m looking forward to relaxing summer afternoons spent lakeside. While there are great food options like Tin Fish (Lake Calhoun) and Bread and Pickle (Lake Harriet), most times I’ll prefer to bring my own meal so I can use produce I find at the market.

At my last book club meeting (we read “A Girl Named Zippy”), the host made a wonderful salad that would be perfect for an afternoon picnic or a potluck. She was nice enough to share the recipe with me and since I turned around and made it immediately, I’ll share it here. We served it alongside grilled rib eye and local asparagus for the perfect side dish.

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Salad
(serves 4-6)

1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz. bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella)
1/4 cup of basil, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl combine shallots, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This will reduce the sharp bite of the shallot and also serve as a quick pickle.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, basil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss gently to combine and season with salt and pepper. Add additional olive oil as desired. Add shallots and 1-2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Gently toss again and transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!


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