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Tomato, Red onion, Mozzarella, and three-basil salad

This legendary Italian salad is a showcase for perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes. Serve it with crusty bread. If you can't find different kinds of basil, use only the sweet green variety .

3 pounds ripe tomatoes (any color),

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at room temperature, thickly sliced.

1 red onion, very thinly sliced

1 cup-fresh basil leaves (any combination of sweet green, purple, lemon, cinnamon, or chocolate), coarsely chopped

6 to 8 ounces of good- quality fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced.

1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 to 6 tablespoons balsamic or

red wine vinegar

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Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Springs of fresh basil for garnish

On a large platter, layer the tomatoes, onion slices, and basil. Top with mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sprigs of basil.

Cover with plastic wrap before packing in cooler.

Serves 4.

- From 'Picnics'

Collins Publishers

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society