1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (may substitute 2 tablespoons of the oil with basil oil)
2 tablespoons fig vinegar (see note)
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 medium tomatoes, preferably with a range of colors, and/or including cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half (2 to 2 1/2 cups total)
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves, plus 3 basil leaves for optional garnish (may substitute 2 teaspoons dried basil)

Combine the oil, fig vinegar, dried oregano, crushed red-pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, in a large liquid measuring cup; whisk to mix well. Transfer half of this vinaigrette to a separate container. Let vinaigrette sit at room temperature (10 to 15 minutes) while you make salad.

Core the tomatoes and then cut them into bite-sized pieces; place in a medium bowl. Cut the mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl.

When ready to serve, add the chopped basil to vinaigrette in measuring cup and mix well. Pour over tomatoes and cheese; toss gently to combine. Add fresh basil leaves as garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

If more vinaigrette is desired, add from separate container that does not have fresh basil in it (that will prolong its shelf life). Otherwise, cover excess vinaigrette and refrigerate for up to 10 days, adding fresh basil when ready to serve.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTE: Fig vinegar is sweeter and slightly more syrupy than balsamic vinegar. Stores that carry Italian specialty goods might have it, as might some Whole Foods Markets, Balducci's stores and online gourmet purveyors.

— Recipe adapted from Olney, Md., resident Dawn Lofthus.