Wow, life gets busier. I thought the new baby stage would be busiest, but in retrospect I had a lot of time to spend on my laptop, sleeping baby across my chest. Now, I have a little guy who wakes up, wolfs down breakfast, and is raring to go. So much to do! So much to see! Yesterday, he picked up my purse, slung the strap over his shoulder, blew me kisses and waved bye bye as he headed for the door.
If I take my eyes off him for a second, he's either eating toothpaste or putting my iPad in the garbage, so snatching a few minutes for email, etc. is not easy.
He's also adamant that he should be the one to hold poor Oliver's leash when we go out. Oliver is very patient, but he is obviously wondering what he did to deserve this...
Anyway, it's only natural, I guess, that I'm favouring simple, fresh summer recipes. This salad shows how when you use good ingredients, they speak for themselves - minimal preparation is needed to make stellar meals in the warm months when produce is at its peak.
A perfectly ripe, fuchsia watermelon, buttery fresh mozzarella, fruity olive oil, fresh basil leaves and an easy-peasy two-ingredient balsamic reduction that is so yummy you'll want to put it on your ice cream.
A word to the wise, here - when you're simmering down your balsamic reduction, don't multi-task. I walked away for a couple minutes and came back to a smoking, burnt caramel disaster. And then the air was heavy with vinegar in a way that burned our nostrils and made our eyes water.
I used a tablespoon measuring spoon to make melon balls the key is to dig in at an angle, then twist your wrist - don't try to scoop in a line like you would ice cream. Feel free to substitute ripe tomatoes, peaches, nectarines or other melon here - they'd all be delicious!
I'm not a big "salad-for-lunch" person unless it's got a hearty grain or some chicken/fish/beans to fill me up, but the thick slices of mozzarella are very hearty and satisfying. With a baguette, this could easily be a light lunch for four.
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- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6 cups 1” watermelon balls or cubes
- 1 (260 gram/9 oz) fresh mozzarella ball, sliced into ¼” thick rounds
- olive oil, for drizzling (about 3 tbsp)
- flaky salt (such as Maldon)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- torn basil leaves
Simmer balsamic vinegar and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to a thick syrup (any consistency between maple syrup and honey is fine). Watch closely as it reduces, as it can burn quickly.
Divide watermelon and mozzarella slices between four plates. Drizzle with olive oil, then with balsamic vinegar reduction. Finish with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, and lots of torn basil leaves.