Monday, July 23, 2012

Caprese Salad

Who doesn't love this Italian classic? It's light, refreshing, very impressive, and only takes 15 minutes from start to finish. Sometimes I like to prep this first and snack on it as I cook the rest of my meal. Delish!!

It is important to note that due to the fact that there are only a few ingredients in this dish, having quality ingredients really makes a difference. I try and use the freshest mozzarella I can find, and will skip making this dish if I can't find it packed loosely in a container of water, rather than vacuum packed. I also use my "upscale" balsamic and olive oil for this dish due to the fact that neither are cooked and they really impart a lot of the flavor in this dish. If you can splurge for some quality ingredients, I think it's worth it.

Total Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Cook Time: NONE!!!!!

What you will need:

Two vine-ripe tomatoes (you can also use the larger beefsteak tomatoes for a bigger salad)
One container of fresh mozzarella packed in water (for the vine-ripe tomatoes, I use medium sized balls of mozzarella; if I use the beefsteak tomatoes, I use the bigger balls of mozzarella)
Balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Fresh basil

Slice the tomatoes in flat slices like this:

Arrange them on a plate, as they will serve as the foundation for the rest of the ingredients.

Drain the mozzarella and cut each ball flat the same way you cut the tomatoes.

Place a piece of mozzarella on each slice of tomato.

Next, you will mince up your basil. I have always had a hard time chopping basil and other herbs until a friend of mine taught me (this weekend!) a neat trick: ROLLING your basil leaves. Who would have thought?

Stack three basil leaves, approximately the same size.

Roll the basil up like a little cigar.

Slice through your basil cigar, which will create thin ribbons of basil.

Sprinkle the ribbons of basil on the mozzarella and tomato combination.

Next, drizzle olive oil and balsamic over all of the slices. Be careful with the balsamic, as a little goes a long way. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper over the slices, to taste. Serve, and enjoy!

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