For Picnics, Potlucks, or Celebrations at Home – Make it Red, White, and Blue

Quick Quiz: What’s fast and easy, delicious and nutritious, pretty and patriotic?  If you answered “Berry and Mozzarella Salad,” you pass the quiz with flying colors.  And speaking of colors, isn’t it nice that Old Glory comes in such appetizing colors?  Raspberries and blueberries have to be among the best flavors of summer, and not only that, they are beautiful!

I’ve always loved the Fourth of July, not only for what it represents historically, but also because I think of it as a relatively low-stress holiday.  No gifts to worry about, no cooking marathon, just relaxed summer fun.  When we lived in WA, it usually meant an extended family gathering at the lake, or sometimes a Spokane Indians baseball game followed by fireworks.  This year we’re going to a friend’s for a big cook-out, and I’m taking this fruity riff on insalata caprese.

Berry and Mozzarella Salad

  • 1-2 cups fresh raspberries and/or halved strawberries
  • 1-2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 8 – 16 ounces fresh mozzarella (the mini balls are nice halved, or cut regular-sized balls or logs into slices and quarter each slice)
  • Fresh basil or other herbs if desired (I like lemon thyme)
  • 1-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction (see note below)

This salad is best assembled shortly before serving, but you can go ahead and cut the mozzarella and wash the berries in advance.

Arrange the berries and mozzarella pieces on a serving plate along with basil leaves if you are using them.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction.   That’s it!

Note about the balsamic vinegar: I use a commercial cranberry-infused balsamic crema that I found in a little shop right here in my village, and the flavor and color is perfect for this salad.  If you don’t find something like that, any good white or dark crema will work, or you can make your own reduction (a red balsamic vinegar would yield a nice color).  I made some just to try it – all you have to do is pour the vinegar into a stainless steel pan and stir occasionally over low heat until the volume is reduced by 60 – 75 percent and then let it cool (you’ll want to ventilate the kitchen because the vinegar fumes are strong).


Happy Independence Day!


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