I believe one of the most common misconceptions among chefs and homecooks is that dishes need to be complicated to be delicious, or appreciated. One of the best lessons I learned as a chef was that it was usually the simple, nostalgic meals that people would line up at the door for. Flavors that reminded them of home or childhood. Fresh ingredients. Simplicity and familiarity. This is not to say that foodies don’t enjoy trying new foods to inspire and awaken their palates. But I think the dishes we keep coming back to over and over are the simple ones that remind us of something happy, easy, and comforting.
When I think of people enjoying meals in other countries, I often don’t think of complicated dishes that take all day to prepare. What usually comes to mind is a family gathering fresh vegetables in the backyard garden, gathering around an old wooden table, pouring wine, breaking freshly-baked bread, and just enjoying each other’s company. Ok, this may actually be a scene from Under the Tuscan Sun, but hey everyone is entitled to their dream dinner scenario. :)
I often think simple recipes like this one are undeserving of a written recipe or blog post. But I find that sometimes, you just need a “reminder recipe” like this one, just to remember the easy stuff. My Instagram “saved” file is piling up with more and more time consuming recipes I want to try, but honestly, when it’s crunch time, I rarely will look at those. I just look in my fridge, see what’s left and try to pull something out of my magic carpet bag like Mary Poppins pulls out live plants. :) I decided to start sharing these super simple recipes here on the blog, even at the risk of a little scrutiny, just for the sheer fact that I know everyone I know just wants quick and easy most of the time. And sometimes you just need one part of the meal to feel a little special to elevate the whole experience.
You could absolutely use your imagination here and add anything else you fancy, like bell peppers, balsamic vinegar, kalamata olives, feta, etc. Play with it and have fun! That’s what it’s all about anyway. Thanks for reading.
Tomato Cucumber Mozzarella Salad
Yields: about 4-6 side servings
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise, seeds scooped, and cut into 1 inch pieces
small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp. Kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. good extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Enjoy! :)