"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.