Stay cool as the temps rise with this simple but delicious salad.
When the temperatures are pushing triple digits, even the thought of standing over a hot grill or next to an oven can produce a few beads of sweat on your brow. As the heat rises, why not take advantage of the best of the summer’s produce with the simplest of preparations?
Enter the Caprese salad, requiring minimum execution time and packing maximum flavor. With the farmer’s markets bursting at the seams with sweet heirloom and cherry tomatoes, now is the time to highlight this summer gem. Named for the exotic island of Capri off the coast of Italy, the Caprese salad embodies the essence of Italian cooking – simple, but with tons of flavor.
This Italian antipasto pairs sweet tomatoes with milky mozzarella cheese and aromatic fresh bright green basil. For a more modern twist, consider selecting tomatoes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Aim to create a visual mosaic that will appeal to both your eyes and your taste buds.
Here, the focus should be on the quality of your ingredients. Tomatoes should be firm and not at all mushy, with only a slight give to the touch. And no matter what type of tomato you use, just make sure it smells heavenly. You can always ask for a taste – most vendors at farmer’s markets and local grocers are more than willing to offer one. It is also worth investing in high quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to take this salad to the next level. Consider a visit to Trader Joe’s to beef up your collection at a friendly price point.
For more summer tomato tips, check this out.
- 2 large red tomatoes
- 2 large green tomatoes
- 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, preferably in a variety of colors
- 4 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese
- Handful fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil, drizzled to taste
- Aged balsamic vinegar, drizzled to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, slice the larger tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter, alternating red with green. Be careful not to slice the tomatoes too thin – you want them to hold up on the plate. Next, slice the cherry tomatoes in half and lay them out on the interior of the plate.
Slice the buffalo mozzarella cheese and place the cheese slices on top of the tomato slices. Then, cut the fresh basil into thin ribbons. This can be accomplished by rolling up the leaves and slicing across the leaves to create thin strips. Evenly distribute the basil ribbons throughout the salad – this will add a little pizzazz to your plate.
Finally, give everything a nice dusting of salt and pepper and a generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s simple, but decadently delicious. Enjoy!