I love everything about the caprese: the cheese, the fresh tomatoes, the basil... in summer this salad is definitely a favorite of mine. However, even I like a change of pace every once in a while. Sometimes you can't get really fresh mozzarella or you need a side that packs a little more punch. This tomato salad fits the bill perfectly.
Switching the mozzarella out for goat cheese (which I always have on hand) and the basil leaves for a basil vinaigrette keeps it interesting without straying too far from those familiar flavors. The vinaigrette is really strong but when you drizzle it on the tomatoes it mellows beautifully. Even better, it's a great use for that basil growing like crazy in the garden and it will keep in the fridge for a week to dress salads, fish, or grilled chicken.
Tomato and goat cheese salad with basil vinaigrette
Adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2008
Serves 2, with basil vinaigrette to spare
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 ounces goat cheese
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4 thick slices
1. Place basil, oil, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of water into a blender. Blend until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Season with coarse salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Slice goat cheese using dental floss. This is a genius tip from EDF that makes beautiful, even slices instead of crumbles. On two plates, alternate tomato slices and goat cheese, dividing evenly. Season the salad with coarse salt and pepper, drizzle with vinaigrette, and serve.