Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil stack with Balsamic Vinegar and Lime dressing

A recipe by Robert Carrier

This towering new age salad of tomato, mozzarella and basil leaves, served with a balsamic vinegar, lime and basil dressing, is at its best when large vine-ripened tomatoes are in season

Starter    Serves:  4

Ingredients:  16 thin rounds fresh buffalo mozzarella; 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chilled; 16-24 large fresh basil leaves.  For the dressing:  150ml / 1/4 pt extra virgin olive oil; 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice; few leaves fresh basil, cut into thin slivers; salt and freshly ground black pepper; crushed dried chillies.  For the garnish:  4 sprigs fresh basil; 10-12 black olives

To prepare the dressing the marinate the cheese – In a large wide bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, adding lime juice to taste.  Add the slivered basil leaves and season to taste with the salt, freshly ground pepper and crushed dried chillies.  Mix well, then add the mozzarella, spooning the dressing over the slices.  Chill until ready to serve.

To prepare the tomatoes – Cut the tomatoes, one by one, into 6 mm / 1/4 in slices, including the tops and bottoms.  Re-assemble each tomato.

To assemble the stacks – With a slotted spoon remove the marinated mozzarella from the dressing (reserve the dressing).  Alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella to crease a stack on each plate, garnishing each slice of cheese with a basil leaf or two, and topping each stack with a tomato ‘cap’.  Spoon the dressing over.  Garnish each plate with a sprig of basil and a few black olives.  Serve immediately.

Serve with :  Racks of lamb with green herb crust and Lemon Tart

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