Arugula Caprese

This was only the appetizer for tonight’s meal, but it was so great, I had to share it with you.  The dish began with a bag hanging on my back door, from my 89-year old neighbor, Beppi.  Beppi’s garden (which he cultivates and plants himself) is just beginning to yield some produce–arugula.    The arugula is strong and peppery, despite how delicate the leaves look. 

Although local tomatoes are not yet in season, my produce market had some nice looking plum tomatoes, which turned my head away from the usual grape tomatoes.  I bought a nice ball of mozzarella with which to make caprese, and decided to use chopped arugula instead of basil as the green.

This dish is the perfect balance of bitter (arugula), sweet (tomatoes) and rich (mozarella).  If you like the dish made with basil, try this version–the arugula is wonderfully assertive and you can add a big pile of it on top–it makes the dish much more of a salad and gives it a crunch that a few basil leaves don’t.

The main course tonight consists of three dishes I’ve posted before in one form or another–but I never get tired of them–plain seared scallops, sauteed broccoli di rapa with garlic and lemon, and skillet potatoes with rosemary.  I’ve included a photo just because it looked so good!

Arugula Caprese

serves 4

1-1/2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, sliced

4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

2 cups chopped arugula

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Lay out the tomato slices and salt well.  Place slices of mozzarella in between.  Top with arugula and drizzle with oil.  Top with ground black pepper.  Serve immediately.

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