Caprese Salad

Insalata Caprese

During the hot summer months in Italy, lighter meals are served, mostly made with fresh seasonal vegetables. One of the most popular is Caprese salad, either as a light meal, a starter or part of a larger spread of antipasti.

This refreshing dish is originally from the island of Capri, but is now eaten all over Italy. The natives, and inhabitants, of the island are called Caprese, hence the name of the salad.

This salad can be made in many different ways, always with the same three ingredients, tomatoes, mozarella and basil, but with different types of tomatoes and with or without oil or balsamic vinegar. It is often served with slices of large tomatoes layered with slices of mozzarella, but is also served with cherry or plum tomatoes with chunks of mozzarella.

Our favourite is the recipe below, made with fresh, cherry tomatoes, cubes of mozzarella and the traditional combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is best served with chunks of bread to mop up the oil and vinegar as you go, and at the end.

It is also interesting to note that this is yet another dish that is the colours of the Italian flag - green, white and red!

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 300g firm, fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 200g mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons high quality, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Sprig basil, freshly picked if possible

Method:

  1. Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a bowl and whisk with a fork until combined.
  2. Wash the tomatoes and cut into half, they should not need coring. Add to the oil and vinegar in the bowl and stir until the tomatoes all covered in the liquid.
  3. Cut the mozzarella into small cubes, add to the other ingredients in the bowl and stir gently.
  4. Divide between two plates, making sure that each plate gets its fair share of the oil and vinegar.
  5. Wash the basil, pat dry with kitchen towel and then, with a pair of scissors, snip the leaves over the top of both plates.
  6. Serve with plenty of fresh, crusty bread to eat with the Caprese and for mopping up the oil and vinegar at the end.