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Fried Mozzarella Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Fried Mozzarella Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

1 8-ounce block mozzarella cheese

1 large egg

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs

1-1/2 cups medium diced fresh tomatoes

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, checked and chopped or 3 tablespoons dried

1 medium clove garlic, crushed

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

6 ounces baby greens or romaine hearts, checked

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 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 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Let the tomato mixture sit for 5 minutes and then add 1/4 cup of the oil and the vinegar

Heat remaining oil in a 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. Carefully turn the cheese and cook until the second side is golden, another 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the cheese to a plate. Repeat with the second batch of cheese.

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

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