French Fridays with Dorie – Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad

Mozarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad

On Tuesday, the day of the summer solstice, I rushed home thinking all the way that I needed a snack to hold me through until dinner time.  Ignoring the vending machine at work was not an easy task.  Halfway through, it hit me – I needed a ‘small plate’.  The mozzarella, tomato and strawberry salad from Around My French Table fit the bill perfectly – it was a wholesome snack to indulge my sweet tooth while getting in some protein and it took next to nothing to assemble!  I was thrilled to have enough daylight to take a couple of pictures.  

Mozarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad

When a meal consists of only a few ingredients, quality is very important.  I splurged and got a package of fresh mozzarella and used a splash of balsamic vinegar Eduardo and I brought back from our trip across Tuscany last year.  The day we set out of Florence on our way to Sienna, we stopped at Il Molino di Grace, a Chianti winery for a quick pit stop.  It was not even 10am, so we shared one tasting and went straight to the vinegars and other non-alcoholic offerings.  A bottle of one of their reserve balsamic vinegars made it home with us… barely!

Il Mulino de Grace - Chianti

On our flight out of Bologna and into Bordeaux, we almost got our bottle confiscated.  I forgot to put it in our checked bag.  The Italian TSA wouldn’t let us empty the bottle out (no one was going to get our vinegar if we couldn’t take it with us!), so we headed back out to the terminal and into the drugstore, and bought three containers to split the contents of the bottle.  I wish I could say they were classy bottles, but they were the kind of plastic jars where, um, samples are taken.  DH was livid, I was mortified but tried to laugh it off.  A couple of drops were lost in the process but seeing the face of the Italian TSA dude who wanted to keep our vinegar as we ‘outsmarted’ him was worth it.  I’ve learned my lesson, though – it’s three ounces/100 ml on hand at all times/places… (sigh!).

View from Il Molino di Grace

The view from Il Molino di Grace

The mozzarella, tomato and strawberry salad was this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking club in which we work our way thorugh Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan’s award winning cookbook.  Check out how the rest of the cooks interpreted the recipe or stories inspired by it!

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

28 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie – Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad”

  1. Dessert By Candy
    June 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    What an adventure to bring that bottle of vinegar home! I’m so glad you did though otherwise we would all miss out on a great story.

  2. Patty
    June 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Good for you, outsmarting the TSA dude, I’m sure he wanted your vinegar treasure!I agree this is a quick easy salad to assemble and so yummy. I will be making this one again this Summer;-)

  3. Cher
    June 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Funny story – but glad you were able to figure out a way to get your “prize” home :-)This salad was great for a lunch or a between meal snack.

  4. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    June 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    I love this dish for quick lunches/ dinners etc. So so good! LOVE your vinegar story!

  5. Eileen
    June 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Quick thinking! I had a similar experience, where a jar of lemon jelly that I bought in Venice got confiscated. It was in my carry-on, because it hadn’t even occurred to me that it would be a questionable item, since it wasn’t liquid. I offered to eat some to prove it wasn’t explosive, but no dice. The bag-checkers were super-nice and apologetic (and handsome, which helped), so I couldn’t get too mad about it. It was just jelly, and they were just doing their jobs. Wish I’d thought up some way to divvy it into acceptably-sized jars, though!

  6. Liz
    June 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Adriana, so glad you were able to get your yummy balsamic on the airplane! I bet it tasted fabulous on this incredible Dorie salad. Beautiful photos!

  7. yummychunklet
    June 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Sigh, those pesky TSA…I suppose it’s their job though. Great looking salad!

  8. Andrea @ From the Bookshelf
    June 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Your salad looks great!

  9. food librarian
    June 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Ha ha ha about your “samples” and the airport!!! What a way to get it through security! Lovely salad too! – mary

  10. Kathy
    June 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Very funny story…I’m glad you got to bring your vinegar home with you! Your salad looks so pretty! Nice job!

  11. Spicie Foodie
    June 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I love caprese salad and this twist of adding strawberries sounds great. Good thing your vinegar made it with you. Well at least you’ll always have a funny story to tell 🙂 (BTW the signup for the YBR is now up on my blog.)

  12. Nana
    June 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    I love your story of the vinegar. Hubby and I were in Cognac, France one yearand purchased a few too many bottles of cognac. There was a lot ofdiscussion between us and Air France. Normally we carried small bagson board to put overhead, but they limited the number of bags thistime. We did not have enough locks for the carry on bags. A lot ofrearranging went on at the check in counter. No way was I giving upmy wines and cognac. Tricia and I have another split decision on theweek”s recipe, They all enjoyed it, but hubby and I not too much.I love all your photos.

  13. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    June 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Travelling by air has become so much harder now than when it used to when I was younger. We constantly have to be mindful of liquids, jellies, sharp objects, etc. Although most of us are harmless, it’s nice to remember tips like dividing liquids up into smaller containers in case we get into a predicament like yours in Italy. The sculpture of those men carrying grapes above is way cool, btw, as is your salad!

  14. Adriana
    June 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Thank you all for your comments!  At the time it didn't seem too funny (a bit of vinegar leaked out of the medical sample jars) but in the end it all worked out.  @ Eileen – I am so sorry for the loss of your lemon jelly.  I think if the attendant would have been nice/apologetic it would be another story.  @ Nana – At least you got to sort your bottles out before checking your bags!  I wish I could have turned back to tuck in the bottle!  Of course, this blog post would have been very different!   @ Maya – The sculpture is the same as the logo in the vinegar bottle.  I remembered we had a picture somewhere in the mess that is my iPhoto.  

  15. Betsy
    June 25, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Yes, Adriana, this is a perfect ‘little plate”. Your TSA story made me laugh. I’m glad you rescued the vinegar and kept it for yourselves. Just the thought of TSA and the rules make me stressed. I once almost got into a fight with the TSA agent because they confiscated the pre-takeoff yogurt I brought to avoid and airport breakfast. Did you know that yogurt is considered to be a gel?

    June 25, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    You went through all that for a bottle of vinegar?! Heck yeah!! That’s how you know you’re a true foodie. 🙂 I hide bags of Macedonian paprika in my suitcases, and homemade fig jam, and wines, and…. I can go on and on. 🙂

  17. Krissy
    June 25, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    Good for you to figure out how to keep your vinegar. I really goofed last time I flew to see my grandkids. I made chocolate cookie dough and put it into my carry on thinking it would stay cooler and I would bake cookies with my kiddies when I arrived. NOT. They took it all away from me…said I was not allowed to carry on this type of thing…I could have hidden a gun or a bomb inside the dough. I was really sad, but you were smart. And your salad has such pretty colors…nice work.

  18. K
    June 25, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Such beautiful colors! You’re right, ingredients are key here.

  19. Teresa
    June 25, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    That’s quite a story! I’m glad you got to bring your vinegar home – it would have been a shame to lose it. I really enjoyed this little twist on the classic Caprese salad. The strawberries add so much depth!

  20. sanya
    June 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Love love love your photos!What a fun adventure you had!

  21. Trix
    June 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    So funny – my husband and I go through all sorts of shenanigans to get our favorite things from our travel back home. One though we were not able to avoid disaster and had to hand over a gorgeous bottle of Hungarian tokaji. sigh. I am glad you outwitted the evil TSA dude and got to keep your vinegar!!

  22. Cakelaw
    June 25, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    What gorgeous photos – I have serious wander-lust at present, not having been overseas for 3 years. Thanks for sharing! The one-bowl salad looks good too.

  23. mygreatmenu
    June 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    So glad you got to bring home your balsamic vinegar. I love Italy and loved reading your story.

  24. kathleen
    June 28, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    Loved the story of your adventure in Italy, the scenic picture, and the liquid gold making home with you! I visited Siena with some friends back in ’99, enjoyed it very much. I bet that balsamic vingar was delicious!

  25. Yuri
    June 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Whoa! So jealous of your trip, I hope I can do the same after I get my sommelier diploma… I mean, I NEED to 😉 I loved this salad as well, so easy to make and a great twist to traditional caprese.


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