1 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole star anise
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 pounds medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pitted green olives, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced and halved
1 tablespoon each minced fresh basil, tarragon, mint and cilantro
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup vinegar, sugar and star anise. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly; stir in onion. Let stand for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, cheese, herbs and serrano pepper. Remove star anise from onion mixture; drain onion, reserving 2 tablespoons marinade. (Discard remaining marinade or save for other use.) Add onion to tomato mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice and zest and remaining vinegar; pour over tomato mixture. Drizzle with reserved marinade; toss gently to coat. Season with salt if desired. Serve immediately.
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.