I’m beginning to sense a patriotic theme in these salads and antipasto recipes or could it just be that the colours red, white and green really taste good together?
Caprese Salad named for the island of Capri is beyond easy to make but the combination of ingredients are beyond delicious.
The simplicity of soft mozzarella cheese and sweet ripe tomatoes drizzled with some good quality olive oil, cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt elevate this dish to a pricey appetizer choice on restaurant menus. The star ingredient however is the fragrant leafy basil, especially when it’s in season.
I’ve always planted basil in our summer garden, usually the Genovese variety for salads and pasta dishes and the tiny leaf, Globe variety for drying at the end of the season and enjoying during the winter months.
This year I've expanded my horizons to also include the planting of Lemon, Cinnamon, Leaf Lettuce and Purple Basil. I'm already looking for new recipes that use Lemon and Cinnamon basil as I’m not sure how they might be utilized.
There are six varieties of basil in my garden and am hoping that Mr. and Mrs. Cottontail and family don’t take a liking to any of them. The rabbit family is the lesser of my problems right now since the bugs seem to share my love for Genovese Basil and I’ve had to transplant it into pots before it is totally devoured by the little critters.
The plating of this salad doesn’t always have to look so formal. A bowl of cherry or grape tomatoes tossed with cocktail bocconcini and dressed with the same combination of olive oil, salt, pepper and plenty of basil is even easier to prepare.
With so few ingredients required, the quality of these ingredients really counts.
soft, mozzarella cheese
- Layer tomatoes and cheese overlapping a little, tuck in some basil and drizzle with olive oil.
- Add salt and black cracked pepper to taste.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- Choose fresh mozzarella cheese and tomatoes that are a similar size if you wish to layer.
- If using large slices of tomato you may want to use Fiore di Latte or Mozzarina which are larger balls of the same unripened semi-soft cheese as bocconcini. Bocconcini simply means bite-size.