Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Insalata Caprese - Farmer's market Treat Tomato/Mozzarella Salad


Just nothing much better in the world.  And for a few months a year, Kansas has the best tomatoes.  Firm, full of flavor, so many uses.

But for that first fresh Farmer's Market tomato, it's just a slice and salt.  God's bounty indeed.  After months of hot house (at best) tomatoes or imported 1,000's of miles from home tomatoes, Kansas is the place to be for produce.

I am still basking in the glory of my stop at our farmer's market.  Yesterday I posted my Farmer's Market Chicken Salad.  Everything except the rotisserie chicken was bought from local farmers, local business entrepreneurs. Sold and grown by people who care about and are proud of what they offer.  Kansas City does have one of the best produce markets I have ever seen, with plenty of options.  The open air market is ringed with permanent buildings, a place where similarly minded sellers offer barrels of imported olives, artisan cheeses, my beloved spice guy, teas, coffees, sauces, oils and on and on.

They are out there.  The local craftsman that are fighting the good fight to get healthy, fresh, top quality products to you.  It may take an extra bit of effort, but that effort is worth it.  Make a day of it, share a shopping trip with your spouse, kids, neighbors, friends.  Get inspired to create (you all like that cantaloupe boat I served my chicken salad in???).  And finally, those local heroes of the market should be financially supported.  The Wal-Marting of America (bigger, cheaper, just a little less quality or customer service) is bad for cooks.  The next 4-6 weeks are the best time to hit a Farmer's Market.

There is a terrific website to help.  Just punch in your zip code, and they will tell you the closest and best markets in your area...

 They also have listings for farms, CSA, wholesale and more.  Worth a visit.

Ready for the recipe... Come on, no recipe needed.  It's just cheese and tomatoes...

Slice a few tomatoes...

And once you start slicing, add a little sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella.  Not meaning to brag, but our Farmer's market has a permanent building with imported Italian products as a specialty.  Olives and oils to die for, and fresh REAL Buffalo Mozzarella.  If all you know is the bag of shredded stuff, do yourself a HUGE favor and hunt this cheese down.  made with Buffalo Milk, instead of cow or goat milk.  Comes wet, but is so creamy and delicious.

Drizzle a little Olive Oil.  Highest quality you can get, only use a teaspoon, but this is one of the few recipes that top quality (read expensive) really does matter.

Salt and pepper to taste and top with a basil leaf.

And get yourself a beautiful Living Herb Basil plant.  Again, sold at the market.  Grow them in a coffee cup and you will have fresh basil to use as a garnish anytime you like.  And the leaves really do grow back!

I love the smell of coffee in the morning.  Now I can take a minute and smell the basil while the coffee is brewing.

But I'm not done with the farmer's market yet.

Come back tomorrow and hear about...

A yellow squash/corn crab bisque, served with Bobby Flay Mesa Grill Blue and Yellow corn muffins, and the sweetest sweet corn you can imagine.

See what you can do when you get inspired by fresh, local, beautiful and quality!



  1. These pictures are super awesome Dave! I can see that you are back in your element and are getting used to Kansas life again just fine.

    I've fallen in love with local tomatoes lately...they are just so good. Caprese salad is my favorite way to enjoy them!

  2. I like the stacked Caprese, nice!

  3. Caprese is the definition of summer to me! Gorgeous =)

  4. Love the caprese salad but I'm already pre-drooling about tomorrow's bisque, you tease.

  5. Loooove a caprese & yours looks delish! That bisque looks pretty amazing as well - will stay tuned - Cheers!