There is nothing more classic and delicious than a simple caprese salad. Slices of sweet heirloom tomatoes layered with mozzarella, fresh basil and a healthy drizzle of fruity olive oil.
When I realized I never...ever posted about caprese salad, I just couldn't believe it. I don't know how much of a secret this is, but I have a somewhat addictive, infatuation with tomatoes. I am so in love with them. I think I've said it before that I would rather have Joe come home with a handful of fresh organic heirlooms than jewelry. Yes..well...ya know.
I think my furthest memory of tomatoes is watching my grandmother grow her tomato garden back in New Jersey. I can remember that smell to this day, that earthy and bright smell of a freshly-picked tomato stem. Ever since then I have been succumbed to the smell of fresh tomatoes. And I have to add, I am quite picky with these earthy jewels as well. I won't eat any tomato that has been refrigerated since it eliminates all the beautiful flavor. When I go shopping, I have a ritual of smelling the stem end and almost...should I say..harassing the tomato as I check out all of its curves and humps. It is an infatuation, I tell ya!
And as with tomatoes, caprese is my favorite salad, ever! yes, Ever! I probably have this salad no less than once a week. It's simple, crisp and clean. Minimal ingredients so you can taste the beauty of each one individually and not overpowering to taste them all together. Of course you want to use the best ingredients you can find since there are so few. The way I dress my caprese is just with a generous pinch of kosher salt, a good drizzle of good olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and if I'm feeling it, a pinch of dried oregano. The cheese I love is fresh mozzarella. It's different than the drier version that is popular in stores. This fresh mozzarella has a little bit less fat content than the drier one and is stored in brine to retain moisture. It is so easy to tear with your (clean) fingers instead of cutting into it because it is so soft and gentle. I absolutely love fresh mozzarella and if you can find it, indulge! This weeks Sunday Supper is about "skinny" recipes, but a little doesn't hurt anyone, right?
This is the oil and vinegar I use for my caprese salad. It's special....verrry special. Trust me, the price is worth it. Oh, and excuse the "used" vinegar bottle!
Do you love tomatoes as much as I do?
- Arrange tomatoes on a place. If using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. Season tomatoes with salt (and oregano if using).
- Gently tear the mozzarella and scatter it along the tomatoes.
- Stack the fresh basil leaves together and cut into strips, or just simple tear with fingers and scatter along tomatoes.
- Drizzle salad with olive oil and vinegar.