Mary Anne's Caprese Salad

The "dog days of summer" are the perfect time for ice-cold salads since no one wants to cook indoors and heat up the kitchen. Plus, fresh tomatoes abound in one's backyard or the farmer's market. In a matter of minutes, you can make an entire meal by adding a plate of cold cuts or rotisserie chicken and crusty bread on the side.

3 large vine-ripened tomatoes, preferably beefsteak or heirloom, sliced

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced or small mozzarella balls

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Approximately 4 Tablespoons olive oil

Approximately 2 Tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Italian seasoning, to taste

Arrange tomato slices in an overlapping circular pattern around a flat serving dish. Arrange cheese slices in between tomato slices. Sprinkle with fresh basil and Italian seasoning; drizzle with oil and vinegar. Use a fork to lift tomato and cheese slices to allow dressing to cover completely.

Note: If you are making the salad with the small mozzarella balls, you might want to use grape or cherry tomatoes. Depending on the size you can slice them in half or leave them whole.

Note: If you can find it, use white balsamic vinegar which will not stain the mozzarella balls.