Caprese Salad - Insalata Caprese
Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is a traditional Neapolitan salad/antipasti from the island of Capri. Properly made, it is one of the simplest and most delicious of dishes. It requires only the right ingredients and the right season...it's basically a summer dish. Five simple ingredients (mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil, and salt) combine naturally into one great punch of flavor that will send your taste buds soaring. Because the salad is so simple, the best quality ingredients are imperative--hothouse tomatoes and rubbery processed mozzarella are just unacceptable..."Simple, fresh, elegant, quick. A timeless, very satisfying recipe; be sure to use the best Buffalo Mozzarella you can find... ideally packed in water. It makes a huge difference!" - stevemur
Yield: 4 Ready in 45 minutes
favorite of 665 people 335 people want to try
Verified by stevemur
Caprese Salad - Insalata Caprese Preparation
The Mozzarella: Bring the freshest available mozzarella di bufala or cow's milk mozzarella (Fior di latte) to room temperature. Remove from its water and pat dry. Slice about 1/4-inch thick. (Never use the plastic-wrapped supermarket variety!)
The Tomatoes: Slice the tomatoes of your choosing: local vine-ripened tomatoes that are red, juicy and flavorful but not overly soft (unrefrigerated or only minimally so); firm, slightly green ones (in the Italian tradition); or mixed vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes.
The Basil: Select the freshest, truly fragrant, flavorful young basil available--green basil grown in the earth under the sun, not the hydroponically grown giant leaf variety which has little flavor. Wash basil in a deep pan of cold water, drain and spin dry in a salad spinner.
The Olive Oil: Use genuine extra-virgin olive oil and only olive oil, the best you can afford.
The Salad: Alternate slices of the mozzarella on a platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with slices of the ripe tomatoes, overlapping for effect. Tear a good bunch of fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind a little coarse black pepper over the salad, if you like. Then, just before serving, drizzle on some excellent extra-virgin olive oil.
Serve with good quality fresh bread and a glass of crisp, slightly chilled white wine. Makes an excellent summer lunch or, in a small portion, an ideal first course for a summer meal.
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy. And, no vinegar of any kind goes on Insalata Caprese! Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used.
This recipe works very well with roasted red peppers when tomatos are not at their prime.
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