A few years ago S and I discovered a lovely little restaurant in Brooklyn called Traif. They serve an ever changing array of small plates, with a pretty heavy focus on pork. Which is a meat I love. They serve these strawberry cinnamon baby back ribs that make me want to weep with joy.Their crispy berkshire pork tails are the stuff of my food dreams.
But I digress, I bring up Traif because aside from all their lovely pork dishes, they also serve a lovely strawberry mozzarella salad we've enjoyed several times. The fresh, creamy mozzarella pairs with strawberry easily (everyone knows strawberries + cream = yum), and the greenness of the mint and the tangy, slightly savory balsamic bring it around to a flavor that is a little sweet, but still firmly grounded in salad, not dessert.
For our anniversary this year S cooked up a lovely chicken and white wine rice pilaf casserole, and for an appetizer he recreated the strawberry mozzarella salad from Traif. Neat little slices of mozzarella, each with a perfect strawberry slice on top, a single tiny mint leaf, and a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar. They were dainty and lovely, a perfect recreation.
What I present to you today is not the perfectly neat version of the Traif salad S created, which is lovely, but rather a slightly more casual, rustic take on it, which lends itself well to family style dinners, barbecues, or on it's own as lunch the day you make it for your blog. It's incredibly easy, comes together in moments, utilizes seasonal strawberries, and requires no cooking, the perfect summer dish.
Strawberry Mozzarella Salad
16 oz strawberries
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella
1 small bunch mint
Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling
Cut mozzarella in 1/3 inch thick slices and place on the bottom of serving dish. Hull the strawberries and cut lengthwise into thick slices, then cover the mozzarella with the strawberry slices. I use slightly more strawberries than cheese.
If you're using small mint leaves, just scatter them over top. If your mint leaves are larger like the ones my apple mint plant grows, cut them into thin slivers before scattering over the dish of strawberries and mozzarella.
Immediately before serving drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the salad. I prefer to use a sweeter, slightly thicker, more aged vinegar. If you want to thicken and sweeten a thin balsamic, see my note at the bottom.
Serve as an appetizer or side salad, basically any time you would serve a Caprese Salad.
Note: To thicken a thin balsamic, pour 1/2 Cup balsamic into a frying pan with 1 tbsp sugar and cook over medium high, while stirring, allow balsamic to bubble and boil away for a few minutes until it thickens a bit. It will thicken more once cool so don't over do it. 3-4 minutes should do it.