Hi guys! Did everyone have a nice holiday weekend?
Ours was fun. Busy and too short but fun. We actually hosted a huge BBQ/pool party at our house for about 50 people. It was so much fun but super exhausting. For the first time ever, I opted to not cook all the food myself. I decided I would handle the desserts only. We had the rest of the food catered, and it was the best decision ever. The party prep was overwhelming enough without having to cook all the food.
That said, a small part of me did miss the home-grilled goods with homemade sides. Ya know. The picnic food we all know and love. Or have all come to somewhat expect on days like July 4th. My mom’s potato salad and my dad’s grilled mixed veggies top the list for me. Maybe I’ll have a family BBQ redux soon to make up for those missing classics.
The week leading up to the BBQ bash was kind of a blur. Lots of last-minute errands, baking, and cleaning had to happen…which left little time for everyday meal prep. We were eating odds and ends for most meals. One afternoon, I decided to make myself a salad for lunch. Except the two heads of romaine in my crisper drawer were anything but crisp. Womp womp. Meal planning fail. In the next drawer, I discovered a bag of cherries that I had somehow forgotten. I have no idea how, given that they are one of my most prized spring/summer produce items. Then, my wandering eye discovered a container of fresh mozzarella balls. And that’s how this salad was born.
Guys, I have to say, this is one of the best things to come out of my kitchen in a while. I hesitated sharing it with you all because it almost seems TOO simple. One of those “not really a recipe” recipes. BUT! It was so unbelievably, unexpectedly delicious that I knew it HAD to make an appearance on the blog. So much so, that I am sharing it within a week of making it, which is kind of unheard of. Most of the recipes you see me posting were made at least 2+ weeks prior. That’s how good this is.
The simplicity of it is actually one of my favorite things. I have made it twice since discovering this combo last week, and I don’t see an end in sight anytime soon. I’ll be making it for as long as the cherries are good. Even if that means getting duped EACH AND EVERY TIME into paying $15 per bag of cherries (the price is always BY THE POUND. I never pay attention to that small detail and almost always have a mini heart attack at the register). Totally worth it.
We’ve got the cherries, balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil (from my garden), aged balsamic, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, smoked sea salt, pepper, and TOASTED ALMONDS. OMG. The almonds. Now, I know the cherry-almond combo is nothing new, but GOODNESS, did I love the toasty almonds in this salad. So super delicious. The almonds and aged balsamic (invest in a good bottle to use sparingly in dishes like this!) totally make this dish.
And the fresh mozzarella.
And the smoked salt.
Well. The cherries too.
Basically, this is a dish made up of a bunch of my favorite things mixed together. It’s only natural that it would end up being one of the best things I ever shoved into my face.
Summer in a bowl. Or on a plate. Or in my mouth. Yes.
3 cups cherries, pitted and halved
8 oz fresh mozzarella (sliced, chunked, or in balls)
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Smoked sea salt, to taste
¼ cup fresh basil, torn or lightly chopped
Combine the cherries, mozzarella, and almonds in a mixing bowl and toss gently to combine.
Drizzle the vinegar and oil over top and toss gently to coat.
Season, to taste, with black pepper and smoked sea salt (or regular sea or kosher salt) and garnish with the basil. Serve immediately.