The Italians show that good food doesn’t have to be complicated. This tomato, basil and mozzarella salad is ideal for a summer afternoon lunch/snack or as a starter before a BBQ. To get the best out of it, source the best ingredients. Last weekend I picked up some Irish Buffalo mozzarella (supposedly from the only producer in Ireland) from the English Market in Cork. It was a huge step up from the basic supermarket mozzarella, very rich and creamy, but when you’re focusing on just a handful of ingredients it is definitely worth seeking out the best.
500g Buffalo Mozzarella cut into round slices
500g vine ripe tomatoes cut into slices
small handful of oregano leaves
large bunch of fresh basil leaves
good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Layer the tomatoes on a platter, season with salt and drizzle over a little olive oil. Arrange the slices of Mozzarella over the tomatoes (this doesn’t have to be a work of art), sprinkle with the oregano and scatter over the basil leaves. Season with black pepper and serve.
The wine match
We’re dealing with simple flavours here, so we’ll keep the wine simple. A good everyday drinking Italian Pinot Grigio would sit well. The Mirabello Pinot Grigio is a brilliant summer afternoon wine, with its uncomplicated, easy drinking characteristics and relatively low alcohol, it is about as versatile as you can get at this level. Stepping it up, and staying with Italy, you could look at the Poggiobello Tocai Friulano, which apart from anything else is an opportunity to experience a true varietal expression.
If pink takes your fancy, the Château Bauduc Bordeaux Rosé is a very pale, dry style of rosé, but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, the Santa Alicia Reserva rosé or the sweeter premium Woodstock Grenache rosé will fill that void perfectly.