recipes: Caprese salad

If the farmers’ market was any indication yesterday, we are in the height of tomato season.  Cherokee Purple, BlackBrandywine, Green Zebra, and Lemon Boy graced the tables in a flourish of color.  I ended up with some Yellow Mortgage Lifter and Black Brandywine then drove home dreaming of Caprese salad.

I did a little research (ie–visited Wikipedia), and here’s what I found out about Caprese salad:

traditional Caprese salad with a touch of balsamic vinegar

Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil.[1][2] In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish).

While it’s unknown whether the salad actually originated on Capri, it became popular after being served there to the jet-setting King Farouk of Egypt during the 1950s.

I also discovered it is called the Tricolore Salad because it has the three colors of the Italian flag–green (basil), white (mozzarella), and red (tomato).  I have also read several blogs that seem to agree–while chefs may want to to add their own signature to this classic antipasti, it is best served in its simplicity.

Last night, we made ours as follows:

Chopped 3 heirloom tomatoes in bite-size chunks (1 of each color)

the Black Brandywine tomatoes I purchased

Chopped fresh mozzarella in bite-size chunks (1 round the size of a baseball)

Basil that had been cut with herb shears to create long threads (8 leaves)

pinch of Kosher salt, twist of tri-color peppercorns pepper grinder

drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp of white wine vinegar

Combined in bowl then let sit for 20 minutes which created a delightful juice once I stirred it.  We served it up in bowls and went back for seconds. Who needs the primo or secondo when the antipasti is mere perfection?

 

 

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