I like to think of myself as an honorary Cheesehead. Although I was not born in the state of Wisconsin, my four years of undergrad in Madison only encouraged my love for cheese and the need to melt it on just about everything. This desire has not waned in my post-collegiate years, although perhaps my taste has grown more sophisticated. I choose Brie or Camembert over cheddar and I’ve found that a good, hard Parmesan makes all the difference in Italian cooking.
And when springtime comes around, one of my favorite cheese dishes is a classic caprese salad. There is nothing fresher and more satisfying than a firm beefsteak tomato, fresh mozzarella cheese and just-picked basil leaves. A few dashes of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper make it a colorful side dish that no one can turn down.
Clearly you can see that my love for cheese is pure. Which is why I feel a tinge of guilt telling you that I actually substituted it out of the dish. Running short on time and ingredients, I decided to swap an avocado for mozzarella and the results were fantastic! It made a gorgeous salad, especially with a bit of balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top. And it tasted great too! It’s actually a good alternative for lactose-intolerant foodies who still crave the creamy texture combined with a firm tomato.
The recipe is so simple, it seems silly to write out the ingredients and directions, but I think you get the idea. Do you have any other variations on the caprese? Running With Tweezers writes about a refreshing summer twist with watermelon and basil granita!