Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caprese Salad



You do not need a lot of words: Just look at the beautiful colors of this salad!.. It easily can be the decorative center piece of the dinner table.

Although it is called "salad", Italians serve this as an appetizer; and the simple ingredients represent the colors of the Italian flag.


Ingredients: (Serves 5-7)

  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella (about 8 oz.), cut into 1/4" slices
  • 2 tomatoes on the vine, cored and cut into 1/4" slices
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces or cut into ribbons
  • Toasted bread, for serving (preferably sourdough bread)

For dressing:

EITHER:
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
OR
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt over the salad


Directions:

  • Layer the mozzarella and tomato slices on the serving platter in an overlapping manner (Be careful not to break the mozzarella slices).
  • Pour the dressing over the salad (the amount you use is up to your liking), or just sprinkle a little bit salt and drizzle some olive oil.
  • Garnish w/ fresh basil leaves. Serve it w/ toasted bread.


Additional points:

  • The reason I choose vine-ripened tomatoes to use for this salad is because the size of these tomatoes is very close to the size of the typical fresh mozzarella balls, so they create a uniform look on the plate; but you may choose any other type of tomato you like, too.
  • Some people may like only olive oil in this salad, others may prefer the tangy flavor of the dressing. The amount you want to use is really up to you.
  • Here's also some information on how to cut fresh basil leaves (or other leaves) into ribbons (which is called chiffonade).
  • It's important to cut the tomato and especially the mozzarella really into slices as thin as 1/4"; chunky pieces may be too big a portion for most people. You can use a specific cheese slicer or an expensive mozzarella/tomato slicer or just a very sharp serrated knife.

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