From Italy-the caprese salad
There is nothing quite like enjoying a caprese salad sitting outside on a beautiful day, other than enjoying a caprese salad whenever you can get your hands on perfectly ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. For the salad below I used some tomatoes from my garden and heirlooms that I purchased along with three kinds of basil from my garden. Try it now for that last taste of summer!
This simple dish with beautiful colors and fresh flavors use some of those products that have made the history of Italian cooking: tomato, basil and mozzarella. This is an uncooked dish where ingredients are everything and the taste is intense.
According to italyheritage.com the basic rules are:
- the mozzarella must be large since the quality of the flavor is directly proportional to its size. Buffalo milk is tastier than cow’s milk, and a “mozzarella di bufala”, a handmade product, is the best.
- tomatoes should be neither unripe nor overripe: that is, they must have some sauce but also retain consistency. They should be cut and lightly salted and gently turned into a bowl to let the excess sauce come out.
- when it is time to put the salad together, just a little tomato juice and mozzarella milk will keep the dish moist, neither too dry nor too liquid. Be creative with your plating!
- basil leaves must be broken by hand and not with a knife.
- the caprese should rest a quarter of an hour, and consumed without bread. If you want to, but it is not necessary and some do not like it, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can be added.
Heirloom tomatoes, my older son’s favorite, come in lovely colors and make this salad as gorgeous to look at as it is to eat.