My garden is producing like crazy this week due to the 100-plus temperatures in California's San Joaquin Valley. My tomatoes are especially plentiful and delicious this season. Nothing beats a tomato that has been allowed to fully ripen on the vine. There is a sweetness and redness to home-grown tomatoes that is unmatched in store-bought varieties.
With the abundance of backyard tomatoes this year, I've had to get busy finding ways to use them. One of my favorite ways of serving vine-ripened tomatoes is in this easy and fresh-tasting Caprese dish.
2-3 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 - 8 oz. tub whole milk fresh mozzarella cheese balls (found at Trader Joe's or many grocery stores), sliced 1/3 inches thick.
8-10 fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips.
Fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste.
Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick and place two slices in single layers on individual salad plates. Top each tomato with a slice of mozzerella cheese and sprinkle with strips of basil. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and salt. Garnish with sprigs of basil, if you desire.