Fresh Mozzarella Salad w/ Avocado, Roasted Corn, & Grape Tomatoes
I tasted fresh mozzarella for the first time when I moved to New York City in the ’80s. Growing up in Tennessee, I’d had only the mozzarella you find in grocery stores; that was considered “gourmet cheese” in our house. As with the first time I tasted fresh herbs, roasted peppers, or asparagus that didn’t come from a can, tasting fresh, creamy mozzarella was literally a life-changing experience for me. This was one of many experiences that made me want to become a cook.
WHAT TO SERVE WHEN This salad is so summery it goes with just about anything off the grill, like a Tequila Lime Skirt Steak or Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast. With warm flour tortillas, you can serve them all together like fajitas.
SERVES 4 TO 6
4 ears sweet corn, in the husk
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, or bocconcini
2 ripe avocados, halved, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 pint grape or other small tomato varieties, halved
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Summer Herb Vinaigrette
Several handfuls of young arugula or baby greens
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Soak the corn in the sink or a bowl filled with cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the kernels are tender. Cool to room temperature, then pull off and discard the husks and silks. Cut the kernels off the cob into a large bowl.
Add the mozzarella, avocados, tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the bowl with the corn. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently. Be careful not to over-mix or mash the avocado. Season with more salt, pepper, or vinaigrette to taste. Serve on a bed of the arugula or baby greens.