The twist to this recipe lies in its call for fig vinegar, which is sweeter and slightly more syrupy than balsamic vinegar. Stores that carry Italian specialty goods might have it, as might some Whole Foods Markets, Balducci's stores and online gourmet purveyors.
You might have some vinaigrette left over; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Servings: 4 4 side-dish servings
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (may substitute 2 tablespoons of the oil with basil oil)
- 2 tablespoons fig vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 5 medium tomatoes, preferably with a range of colors, and/or including cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half (2 to 2 1/2 cups total)
- 8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves, plus 3 basil leaves for optional garnish (may substitute 2 teaspoons dried basil)
Combine the oil, fig vinegar, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in a large liquid measuring cup; whisk to mix well. Transfer half of the vinaigrette to a separate container. Let the vinaigrette sit at room temperature (10 to 15 minutes) while you make the salad.
Core the tomatoes and then cut them into bite-size pieces; place in a medium bowl. Cut the mozzarella into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl.
When ready to serve, add the chopped basil to the vinaigrette in the measuring cup and mix well. Pour over the tomatoes and cheese; toss gently to combine. Add fresh basil leaves as garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
If more vinaigrette is desired, add from the separate container that does not have the fresh basil in it (that will prolong its shelf life). Otherwise, cover the excess vinaigrette and refrigerate for up to 10 days, adding fresh basil when ready to serve.
Adapted from Olney resident Dawn Lofthus.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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