Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Avocado, Tomato, and Bocconcini Salad


4-6 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
2 ripe avocados, peeled, stoned, and sliced thinly
10 oz bocconcini, drained and halved 300 g
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, left whole 125 ml

For the vinaigrette:

1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt 2 ml
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard 7 ml
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 25 ml
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 80 ml
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves 25 ml
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon 15 ml
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 ml


To prepare the vinaigrette:
Crush the garlic and salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle or with the flat side of a knife blade. Combine the garlic with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar with a tightly fitting lid, and shake thoroughly. Arrange the tomato and avocado slices in concentric, overlapping circles on a large platter, inserting the whole basil leaves throughout. Scatter the bocconcini halves on top, drizzle the dressing over everything, and serve at once.
This Mediterranean salad - insalata tricolore in Italian - echoes the colours of the Italian flag. The flavours of sweet, ripe tomatoes, rich, nutty avocado, and peppery fresh basil combine to complement perfectly the creamy mellowness of "baby" mozzarella, or bocconcini. Bocconcini comes in small balls, usually kept fresh in a light brine. Serve this salad with crusty ciabatta bread to mop up the juices and vinaigrette.


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