Flag that salad
Italians have it right. Showcase fresh garden tomatoes and soft mozzarella with drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar then garnish with sweet basil ribbons. The colors of the Italian flag lined up on a plate, just slice and drizzle and it will score a ‘10’ for presentation. Whether your dinner companions are family, friends or guests, you can wow them with this flamboyant salad in minutes.
The mozzarella I used was made from cow’s milk but traditionally it was made from buffalo milk. And just to add another animal to the fray, the Italian word for goat is ‘capra’. But for this dish the word Caprese (kuh-pray-zee) refers to something that comes from or is in the style of Capri, an island off the coast of Italy just south of Naples.
I love this salad and it’s one of my favorite ways to serve tomatoes raised in my garden or purchased at my local farmers market. Perfect summer salad.
Recipe: Caprese Salad
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes | Yield: 4-6 Servings | Level: Easy
- 3-4 medium balls fresh mozzarella, thick sliced
- 4 small tomatoes, thick sliced
- Olive oil
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar, optional
1 Place the vinegar in a small sauce pan. On medium high heat, bring to a boil stirring constantly. Watch carefully as the sugar in the vinegar may burn easily. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 3-5 minutes to reduce the liquid, continuing to stir. Take off the heat. Set aside to cool.
2 Alternating slices, arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate. Tuck the basil leaves in between the slices.
3 Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle olive oil and vinegar.
Fresh mozzarella is sold in a container covered in water.
Herbs or greens stacked and rolled for slicing is called a chiffonade. Chiffon is French for ‘rag’ so when cut into ribbons it’s like making rag-like strips.
Choose small irregular shaped heirlooms tomatoes in a variety of shades; red, orange, yellow and green for a colorful Caprese salad.
Make a double or triple batch of reduced balsamic vinegar and use as a sauce for roast beef or in salad vinaigrette.
- Exchange fresh cow’s milk for buffalo mozzarella.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: August 22, 2012