I love the way basil smells, but most of all I love it in the summertime. The sun and the heat pump up the volume of the basil leaf scent so that you simply can’t escape it and before you know it you are salivating madly and on your way to find the freshest mozzarella ball…. at least that’s what I did yesterday. My mother sent me and David driving off through sunny green hills to retrieve her CSA share of produce. The bags of veggies we picked up from the farm were full of thick leafy basil and glowing tomatoes. The car quickly filled with the scent of the hot fresh basil and we drove off in search of fresh mozzarella. Later that evening, as the sun began to set and firecrackers were being set off in every direction, we sat on the deck and ate the tomatoes, the ball of mozzarella we had found, and of course the basil, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a tiny dash of balsamic. The colors were bright, and though not quite right for the 4th of July (blue foods are hard to find after all), felt appropriate.
(proportion ingredients as you see fit)
Fresh, vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Fresh Basil leaves, washed and dried
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
Lay the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil out on a plate, then sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste.