Caprese salad is one of my favourite things to eat all summer long. As it’s called in Italian, Insalata Caprese, Caprese salad literally means “salad of Capri”. Although nobody knows whether or not the salad was actually first made on the Italian island, it likely originated from a dish made in Capri from a different type of cheese, cacio, served with tomatoes.
Easy, impressive and delicious! Sliced tomatoes, layerings of a well-made fresh milky mozzarella, fragrant fresh basil drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction, infused olive oil, and a shower of flaky sea salt to help draw out the sweet tomato juices. It’s so incredibly simple and quick, there’s no reason it can’t be on your table tonight.
It is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. This Caprese salad is one of the quickest and easiest salads you can put together. Perfect as an appetizer or a fresh side to bbq of tenderloin or skirt steak to balance the beef with lots of fresh flavours. It would also go great with baked or grilled white fish. Can also be served with ham, breakfast potatoes, asparagus, and garlic toast. Or throw in some tender greens and enjoy it for a light lunch. Serve with some crusty bread, pinot grigio and some Italian music and you will be in heaven. You just can’t go wrong with a Caprese salad.
Simple and elegant!! Plus it’s super yummy!! The best Caprese salad you’ll ever have! The homemade balsamic reduction is the best part!
Although I strongly recommend saving the Caprese experience for summertime (it makes it that much more special when tomato season rolls around), you can make a Caprese salad at any time of year. With the availability of good tomatoes and fresh basil almost year-round these days, this dish is easy to make and takes you back to summer in the dead of winter.
- 2 Tomatoes - Roma, plum or hothouse - sliced 5-10 mm/¼-½-inch thick
- 1 ball Mozzarella cheese - or a log of Fresh Mozzarella cheese or burrata - sliced 1cm/½” thick
- Basil - a generous bunch of fresh leaves
- Olive oil - extra-virgin
- Salt - coarse sea salt
- Black pepper - fresh ground
- Balsamic Reduction - How to prepare: http://fast2eat.com/balsamic-reduction/
- In a serving dish arrange slices of tomatoes, mozzarella, in an alternating pattern until you have created 1 or 2 rows. Scatter the basil leaves in between or over the tomatoes and mozzarella slices.
- If using, Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula.
- Drizzle (or spray) olive oil lightly over the top of the salad, followed by a drizzle of balsamic reduction (or glaze if you prefer a bit sweeter).
- Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt (you don’t want to season too much as the tomatoes will release a lot of their juices (water)) and fresh ground black pepper.
- Serve immediately. This salad is best served within a few hours.
- It tastes the best at room temperature.
Use Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), sweet cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Include a few leaves of wild arugula and a pinch of dried wild oregano.
- If you don’t like balsamic reduction or glaze, try it with pesto sauce. It’s also delicious.
- Add a layer of avocado slices too. Just remember to add lemon or lime juice to avoid it turns brown.
- Or to make it dairy-free/vegan, as long as you’re using great tomatoes, you’ll enjoy this salad without cheese with dollops of a vegan sour cream and/or with slices of avocado.
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