Tomato Basil Salad

tomato basil saladFor my first Mother’s Day, my mom and dad bought me an Alice Waters’ cookbook – The Art of Simple Food.  I’ve been reading it to learn new techniques, and picked up a few tips:  (1) cook with what is in season, it will provide the best flavor with the least effort, (2) make sure your textures are varied, and (3) make your own salad dressing, but be sure to use high-quality vinegar and oil.  With these in mind, I whipped up a delicious salad, first for my grandparents and then for my husband, and finally for my sister and brother-in-law, and it was a hit for everyone.

Here’s what you need:

For the salad:

2 cups arugula

2 cups baby spinach

8 basil leaves

5 ounces cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup crunchy salad topping (first time I did fried onions, the other times sweetened pecan pieces)

Optional:  1/2 cup chopped cheese, such as feta or fresh mozzarella

For the salad dressing:

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional:  1 teaspoon minced shallots and/or 1 teaspoon mustard

Here’s what you do:

(1) Prepare the salad by tearing the arugula and baby spinach into pieces.  Cut the basil into ribbons.  Slice half the tomatoes in half, and the other portion of them into quarters.  Mix all of that together in a bowl with the crunch topping and cheese (if using).

(2) Prepare the dressing:  Whisk together the vinegar and salt.  Then whisk in the oil.  Finally, whisk in the shallot and/or mustard (if using).  Then whisk the entire mixture together.tomato basil salad dressing

(3) Right before serving, re-whisk the dressing, pour it over the salad, and toss.

Enjoy!tomato basil salad

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