Caprese salad is made with fresh ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. One of my favorite salads, it reminds me of all the flavors and colors of summer in Italy. Some recipes add balsamic vinegar, olives or other ingredients, but the traditional Caprese salad recipe calls just for well ripened tomatoes, and real mozzarella the round ball type which in Italy is called Fiordilatte.
Caprese salad can be enjoyed as an antipasto or as a light delicious lunch.
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4):
2 large ripe tomatoes
8 ounces/225 grams of fresh Mozzarella cheese
A few fresh basil leafs
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Start washing and cutting the tomatoes into slices, about ¼ inch thick (½ cm).
2. Cut the Mozzarella cheese into slices as well, about the same thickness.
3. Cut the fresh basil leafs into long, thin ribbons (this way of cutting vegetables into thin strips is also called Julienne).
4. Now arrange nicely your ingredients on a serving plate, alternating the tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese slices, and then topping them with the fresh basil. This colorful and inviting presentation will make your salad even more delicious.
5. Drizzle the mozzarella and tomatoes with the extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
If you are preparing Caprese salad as antipasto, serve along with some other Italian hearty foods, like slightly toasted slices of sourdough or focaccia bread, olives, maybe some sliced salame or prosciutto.
Pair Caprese salad with a chilled glass of white wine.
Note on Mozzarella cheese: The term Mozzarella idicates several kinds of semi-soft cheese made by spinning and cutting the cheese into balls. In Italian mozzare means to cut, hence the name. There are 4 different types of Mozzarella:
Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella), made with milk from domesticated water buffalos, typical of the region near Naples.
Mozzarella Fiordilatte (literally flower of milk), made from fresh pasteurized or unpasteurized cows milk.
Low-moisture mozzarella, made from whole or part skimmed milk, commonly known as Mozzarella cheese log or shredded Mozzarella, and found almost in any supermarket around the world. Because of its longer shelf life, it is especially preferred and utilized by the food industry.
Mozzarella affumicata (smoked mozzarella), often served sliced and baked in the oven over crostini bread.