- Servings: 4.
Insalata Caprese, or Capri salad, is a summer favorite made with slices of in-season local tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, leaves of fresh basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
The key to this dish is that each ingredient be perfectly fresh and at peak flavor. The tomatoes must be ripe and juicy, the mozzarella soft and sweet, and the extra virgin olive oil the best you can find. This salad is an example of how ingredients can make all the difference between wonderful or awful -- so don't even think about making this with supermarket mozzarella or out-of-season tomatoes.
Served with a loaf of good Italian bread, preferably one with a crispy crust and tender inside, this salad makes a perfect summer lunch or dinner's first course followed by cold chicken or simply cooked fish, and finished with sorbet or crisp made with the best of summer's fruit.
Fresh mozzarella is sold either salt free or lightly salted. The flavor difference is subtle and it's more important to buy mozzarella that is acutely fresh than to search for one with or without salt. One made with cow's milk has a milder flavor than buffalo mozzarella, which has a bit more tang.
- 2 pounds fresh, in season vine-ripened tomatoes (3 to 4 large tomatoes)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, rinsed and spun dry, about 12 leaves
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- Remove any tough stem or core from the tomatoes and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
- Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices.
- Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter, alternating the tomatoes and cheese.
- Scatter the basil leaves over the salad; if any of the leaves are particularly large, tear them in half.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt.
- Serve immediately, passing extra olive oil.