Tomato, Mozzarella and Cherry Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

Salad:

2 to 3 vine-ripe or heirloom tomatoes

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 pint fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved (or husk cherries, stemmed and halved) 

1 tablespoon sugar 

10 to 12 sprigs fresh tarragon, stemmed

8 sprigs fresh basil, stemmed 

8 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed 

Coarse sea salt 

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 12 slices 

Directions

  1. Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic with the mustard and 1 tablespoon cool water in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Make the salad: Place the tomatoes on a flat surface. Cut the smaller ones in half and the larger ones into slices or wedges. Arrange all the tomatoes and cherries in a single layer, flesh-side up, on a large serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle them with the sugar.
  3. "Herb" the mozzarella: Use a pair of scissors to coarsely cut the tarragon, basil and parsley into pieces and toss in a medium bowl with the Parmesan, olive oil and a pinch of salt. The herbs should feel slightly dampened and sticky from the olive oil. If not, add more olive oil by the tablespoon as needed. Press both sides of the mozzarella slices into the herb mix to coat them, then intersperse the cheese pieces amongst the tomatoes on the serving platter or plates.
  4. Season the dish with salt and spoon all the dressing over the tomatoes and cheese.

Cook’s Note

The magic of this dish is the surprise of the Bing (or ground) cherries and the herby slices of mozzarella. Slice the tomatoes, big and small, in different ways for a more dramatic salad; cut some into wedges and some into slices. Husk or ground cherries look like cherry tomatoes but offer a welcome tart flavor almost like a burst of mango or passionfruit. If they are unavailable, add a pint of fresh cherries, halved and pitted, instead. While I know the mustard isn't entirely classic in this iconic salad, I love how its flavor links up with the fresh herbs and brings out the almost creamy note in the cheese.

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