Caprese salad is one of the simplest and most delicious salads you could make. Like all simple dishes, the quality of the ingredients is key, so be sure to use the most flavorful tomatoes you can find, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant green basil for this recipe. This salad should only be made using local vine-ripened tomatoes that are red, juicy and flavorful but not overly soft, fragrant young basil and of course, good quality fresh, moist mozzarella. Never, ever use the dry, plastic-sheathed supermarket variety!
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4-inch thick*
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Coarse sea salt to taste
Freshly-ground cracked pepper to taste
Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into even slices. Layer them on a serving platter or four individual salad plates. Cut basil leaves into thin ribbons and sprinkle them over the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Served with a good quality fresh bread and a glass chilled white wine, this makes an excellent lunch or an ideal first course, especially for summer. Buon appetito!