Fried Caprese Salad
(courtesy of Theresa Gayner, home cook, and founder and host, Sac in the City in Sacramento. Serves 4)

Gayner 1504

2 medium-sized tomatoes on the vine (may use any seasonal variety)
2 eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh mozzarella cheeseball, sliced
Balsamic dressing of choice
5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut 2 tomatoes into ½-inch slices. Rinse slices, pat dry with paper towel, and lightly salt each side. Set aside 2 slices for later. In 3 bowls, separate flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs. Whisk eggs. Dip all but 2 tomato slices into flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. (Make sure to leave 2 slices uncoated.) Lightly cover bottom of frying pan with olive oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, place battered tomatoes in pan and fry each side 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. To plate, stack fried tomato, sliced mozzarella, raw tomato, then fried tomato, placing fresh basil leaves between each layer. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.