The Caprese Salad

The Caprese Salad

As explored in our previous post, Italian food is all about freshness and richness. The flavors are what it’s all about and though the combination may be simple- it always seems to lead to something that can only be described as taste bud utopia.

One of the most popular Italian dishes is called the caprese salad (insalata caprese), and is usually served as a starter. The great thing about this salad is that it is so delicious and SO easy! It takes only about ten minutes to make and looks as beautiful as it tastes. Below are the steps to making a caprese salad. Like most recipes, there are variations and once you have the staples you really can’t go wrong.

Before beginning, gather your fresh ingredients. This recipe serves four (appetizer portion). You will need:

3 tomatoes cut into slices (about 1/4 inch thick)

A pound of fresh buffalo mozzarella (if you don’t want buffalo, standard fresh mozzarella works perfectly). Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Around 25 basil leaves (already peeled from the vine)

Balsamic vinegar (get a good kind-it’s worth investing in!)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (again, high quality makes a big difference)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

*See the guidelines in our last post about how to select the best ingredients. Also, this recipe is easy to alter depending on your tastes- add more tomatoes, basils, or cheese, whatever tickles your fancy!

1. Get a large plate and layer the ingredients, alternating  the basil and mozzarella cheese and putting a basil leaf between each.

2. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the dish (it should naturally fall through the crevices)

3. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil either over the top, or around the sides of the plates (it’s a strong flavor and some people may prefer to either have the salad without it, or choose the amount they want).

4. Sprinkle the pepper and salt to your liking

5. Enjoy and relish in the compliments!

The more you make this recipe, the more you might want to experiment. You  may want to dice the ingredients to make a chopped caprese salad, or experiment with different flavors of olive oil. There are a variety of infused olive oils, from garlic to chilli and many in between. Add cucumbers, avocados or red onions and/or some sliced bread to provide easy transport to your mouth.