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Friday, August 16, 2013

Tomato Mozzarella Caprese at it's simplest!

I am Italian in case you didn't know. Mozzarella and tomato salad took precedence over normal salads growing up. Over the years it has appeared on all kinds of restaurant menus but I have to say that it is mostly always overdone.  It's like trying to reinvent the wheel. It is a simple dish and really should stay simple.  There is room for creativity of course, but all of the renditions I have tasted just take away from the delicious simplicity which requires almost nothing. This is it! Simple, basic, at it's best. The important thing here really is the kinds of tomato, cheese and basil that you use. If you use sub-par ingredients, the dish will just be blah. I recommend Heirloom or Roma tomatoes as ripe as you can get them. You want them to be red and sweet. For the mozzarella, buffalo is best. Buffalo mozzarella is creamy and silky and lends much more flavor to this salad.  If you are using regular mozzarella, make sure its the fresh kind that is soaked in water. There are so many varieties of basil out there.  We get several kinds from our CSA and I always use which ever is the most aromatic.  Some have more of an anise smell and some are more lemony. I tend to go with less lemony varieties for this. The vinegar is a matter of personal preference.  Some like Balsamic and some like red wine vinegars for this.  I personally like a nice red wine for this but most restaurants will use balsamic.  It's your choice but whatever you use, make sure it's of high quality.

Caprese Salad

One ripe tomato
bunch of fresh basil leaves chopped
One fresh mozzarella
Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil drizzle
Balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 tbsp

Slice your mozzarella and tomatoes and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle over salt and pepper, oil and vinegar and chopped basil. You are ready to eat!

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