The combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella is classic. It's a happy three-way relationship where each player enriches and is enriched by the others - It's like a ménage à trois. When you add a whacky ingredient like nectarines into the mix you risk upsetting the happy threesome. But, in this instance, the addition of the "fruity" nectarine turns up the volume and makes this a very seductive salad indeed. Try it, I bet you never go back!
Nectarine Caprese Salad
slightly adapted from Alice Hart's Vegetarian
For the Salad:
4 ripe nectarines
300g cherry tomatoes (try to get different colours if you can)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella
12 small basil leaves
balsamic vinegar, to drizzle
For the Basil Oil:
2 large handfuls of basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
200ml extra virgin olive oil
Make the Basil Oil:
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
Make the Salad:
Cut the nectarines and tomatoes into bite-size pieces and put them into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Tear the mozzarella balls into bite-size pieces and strew them over the fruit. Drizzle over some of the basil oil (you may not need all of it), and gently toss everything together. Drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar over the salad. Perfect.