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Arugula & Fried Mozzarella Salad with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

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Serves four as a light lunch.

  • 1 large (about 7 oz.) smoked mozzarella
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2 cups medium diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oz. baby arugula (about 6 cups loosely packed), washed and dried

Slice the mozzarella into eight slices and then again in half crosswise, so that you have 16 pieces of cheese. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the breadcrumbs in another medium bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the cheese in the egg, turning to coat all sides of the cheese. Dredge the cheese in the breadcrumbs, pressing to help the crumbs adhere and cover the cheese as much as possible. Transfer the breaded cheese slices to a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook. You can prepare the cheese up to 1  hour ahead. Discard any leftover egg and crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, and garlic and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Let the tomato mixture sit for 5 min. and then add 1/4 cup of the oil and the vinegar

Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put half of the cheese in the pan and cook until the breadcrumbs turn golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Use two forks to turn the cheese and cook until the second side is golden, another 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the cheese to a plate. Using the remaining 1-1/2  Tbs. oil, repeat with the second batch of cheese.

Put the arugula in a large bowl. Stir the tomato mixture and toss it with the arugula. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Portion the salad among four plates. Arrange four pieces of cheese on top of each salad and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 444; Fat (g): 39; Fat Calories (kcal): 348; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 14; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19; Carbohydrates (g): 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 649; Cholesterol (mg): 79; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Outstanding salad! I made it for my husband and 13 year old granddaughter. She said, and I quote, . . . "This is the best salad I've ever eaten!" This, coming for a girl who does not like tomatoes. I added more garlic than the recipe calls for and I did not use "smoked" mozzarella. This recipe is a keeper and I'll be making it again this week.

Delicious and simple to make! The Mozzarella is so good!

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