Much like chilli peppers, basil is an obsession in our food garden and in our cooking. This recipe is one of the first we make every year when the basil starts overflowing with abundance and the first tomatoes ripens on the vines. It’s also the recipe we probably make most during the course of the growing season.
Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri or Tomato and Mozzarella Salad) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes and basil. Balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, salt and pepper make up the dressing.
According to Wikipedia, ideally, the mozzarella is “di bufala campana“, the olive oil is “extra virgin” from the peninsula of “Sorrento” and the tomatoes and basil are grown in the full sun of the “mezzogiorno“.
This is one of those recipes that celebrates simple food, local produce and healthy eating. It simply bursts with flavour and it is packed with protective antioxidant nutrients and health promoting phytonutrients. It also provides nearly a third of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirements and also nearly half of your calcium requirements.
Use tomatoes of any type as long as they burst with flavour. Vine-ripened tomatoes from your own organic food garden are best. You really need top-quality tomatoes for this salad, so if you don’t have any, rather make another salad instead.
Serve Insalata Caprese as an appetizer, or as a side dish. And by the way, the colours of the salad is that of the Italian flag.
- 4 large ripe, full-flavoured tomatoes
- 225 g mozzarella cheese
- 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 30 ml balsamic vinegar
- 75 ml fresh basil leaves, shredded fine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the tomatoes into thin (about 3 - 5 mm) slices and slice to mozzarella to a similar thickness.
- Sprinkle your serving plate with a dash of salt and a twist of black pepper.
- Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in slightly overlapping circles on the seasoned serving plate.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over shredded basil leaves.
- Season with salt and pepper.