Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Few ingredients showcase the magic of eating with the seasons better than the humble summer tomato. A ripe, juicy, perfectly imperfect mid-August heirloom is so vastly superior to the sad, mealy, flavorless supermarket tomato you’ll find come December that they may as well not be related at all. Your friends who claim they despise raw tomatoes? Feed them one in August and they’ll likely change their minds.

The end of summer is pure euphoria for tomato lovers — it’s when you’ll find plump, sweet-smelling tomatoes in a stunning array of shapes, sizes, and colors at the farmers market that are begging to be toted home and devoured. Because they’re so darn scrumptious on their own, the best summer tomato recipes let the tomato take center stage — which is where this easy caprese salad comes in.

All we’ve added is a milky mozzarella, fragrant fresh basil, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a spoonful of balsamic glaze, and a shower of flaky sea salt to help draw out the sweet tomato juices. It’s so incredibly simple and quick, there’s no reason it can’t be on your table tonight.

The great thing about making a caprese in the summertime is that pretty much any tomato you use will taste great. I personally prefer larger varieties of tomatoes, which, when sliced, end up being similarly sized to the sliced mozzarella. Most often I grab a variety of heirlooms from the farmers market: Cherokee Purple or Green Zebra are both delicious, and I love the way each heirloom has its own distinct personality. Big, bright red beefsteaks are also good contenders. When selecting tomatoes, choose fragrant ones that smell earthy at the stem end and feel heavy for their size. Avoid any with wrinkled skins.