Ume no Hanami Salad

tomato fresh mozarella salad

"Plum Blossom" Salad

It's plum blossom season in Kyoto, but the rain graces the hills surrounding the city and drenches the streets. Being so busy, I haven't been to see the blooming trees at Kitano Tenmangu shrine yet. So perhaps to tempt the gods to give us some sunshine and me some free time, I made this salad yesterday.

Last summer in Hamburg, I made a variation of this almost every evening to make use of the delicious fresh mozzarella and tomatoes I could get at the neighborhood Turkish fruit store. And a few days ago, I found fresh mozzarella at my neighborhood supermarket. Yay Fresco for being so metropolitan!

So I made these little “scattered plum blossoms" on a field of red leaf lettuce. This variation of bite size pieces creates a wonderful compactly flavored version of the traditional recipe, and I used the fresh herbs of the season, dill and chervil and definitely not basil.

Ume no Hanami Sarada (梅の花見サラダ

After washing all the vegetables, I laid a bed of red leaf lettuce onto a large plate. Then I cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters while making sure they were still connected at the bottom. Into the gently opened tomato blossoms, I placed small pieces of fresh mozzarella, which I decorated with carefully plucked dill and chervil sprigs.

Over this, I scattered sea salt and freshly grated black pepper and dribbled first extra virgin olive oil and then a good quality balsamic vinegar (rather sweet than sour). With the olive oil and vinegar, I was super careful only to dribble and not to pour, which would make the dish absolutely too strongly flavored.