A couple of summers ago I was down the shore just for the day with a good friend and my two kiddies. We decided to have lunch at this lovely restaurant called The Columns right across from the beach in the beautifully Victorian shore point known as Avon by the Sea NJ.. We went in bathing suit covers and all, but then again that is the attire of the sea shore! Anyway, we ordered up this appetizer called a Caprese Tower, and I have been wanting to recreate it since then.
Well this week the northeast is in a little bit of a heat wave, 90+ degrees to be exact, and because of this unusually warm weather I have begun dreaming about the summer's tomatoes and fresh basil. Fortunately our local Thriftway had a huge sale on vine ripened tomatoes this week, so I grabbed a few just to have for salads. Much to my surprise they weren't spongy at all...they quite beautiful, perfect for the Caprese Tower!
All you need is a nice ripe tomato cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Do the same thing with a medium size ball of fresh mozzarella. Pour some olive oil on your serving plate and kind of roll the oil around. Then grab some large fresh basil leaves and begin to stack your tower on the olive oil covered plate. Start with the mozzarella and finish with a tomato slice with one basil leaf between the tomato and cheese. Top with a pretty sprig of basil. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. I also added some balsamic vinegar to the plate so I could swirl each bite of my tower through both oil and vinegar.
We decided to really enjoy our tower and sit outside with a little white wine to accompany this wonderful dish. Kids are outside playing...wow what a great beginning to the summer season!
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