What’s better than the smell of garden fresh basil, fat red tomatoes and balsamic vinegar? We love this salad that captures the essence of warm summer evenings with family and friends.

Our herb for this week is beautiful basil. The unique array of active constituents calledflavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level.  In studies on human white blood cells these components of basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.  The eugenol component of basil’s volatile oils has been the subject of extensive studies as well, since this substance can block the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase (COX) which is related to inflammation in the body.

It’s a perfect take-along to the 4th celebration as it adds a bright pop of color to anything off the grill, and a perfect veggie entrée for those who don’t eat meat Make sure to find the ripest, juiciest tomatoes that are available, and tuck the recipe away for next month when tomato season is in full swing!

Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Mix of Arugula and Spring Lettuces

3 Ripe Tomatoes, in 12 Slices

36 Large Basil Leaves

Mozzarella, Sliced in 12

Good Quality Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Sea Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Mound the lettuce on a large rectangular platter, layer the tomatoes, then a basil leaf, a slice of mozzarella, another basil leaf, and then repeat down the length of your platter. When you have laid it all out – drizzle with balsamic and then olive oil – followed by sea salt and a healthy grind of black pepper all over the platter. Enjoy!

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