The simplicity and freshness of a Caprese Salad comes down to using just a handful of the very best ingredients and doing very little with them. The vibrant red, green and white of a Caprese Salad really is Italy on a plate.
Eating out is great for so many reasons; for me, one of them is the inspiration and ideas l get from other people and places. While l’ve kept my Caprese Salad as authentic as possible, l have taken a leaf out of the cafe where one of my daughters works by adding balsamic glaze.
Balsamic glaze is much thicker and more intense than a straight balsamic vinegar, so a little goes a long way.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCE
It’s hard to muck up a Caprese Salad, but you must use the freshest of ingredients.
Tomatoes: Any variety of tomato works well in this salad, as long as it’s ripe and full of flavour. I often use grape tomatoes because l like their shape and size. At the cafe l just mentioned, they use larger vine-ripened tomatoes that have been sliced and layered over Italian bread … just divine!
Mozzarella (fresh): My choice of mozzarella is the baby bocconcini as they look great alongside the grape tomatoes. Bocconcini is a semi-soft, white mild cheese. Don’t confuse it with the type of mozzarella you sprinkle over a pizza, it’s firmer and pale yellow in colour.
Basil: The smaller basil leaves looking stunning in a Caprese Salad. I buy a bunch of basil, then only use the smaller leaves. The left over leaves can be used for a pesto sauce.
A LITTLE EXTRA FLAVOUR
I do love my vinegar, so tossing the tomatoes in white wine vinegar along with olive oil, salt and pepper adds more flavour.
The extra marinade also creates enough ‘sauce’ for mopping up the plate with crunchy bread, Italian ciabatta, of course.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 – 5
- 400 g / 14 oz baby tomatoes (cherry or grape) (note 1)
- 220 g / 8 oz baby bocconcini
- 1/4 cup small basil leaves or 1/2 cup regular sized leaves torn or roughly chopped
- balsamic glaze (store bought) (note 1)
Marinade for Extra Flavour
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Slice the tomatoes and baby bocconcini in half. Place in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the basil leaves (leave a few aside).
- Pour the marinade over the the salad ingredients. Toss gently. Have a taste and adjust seasoning if required.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves.
- Serve immediately.
- A Caprese Salad tastes so much better when made close to the time of serving. You could prep the tomatoes with the marinade ahead of time and then refrigerate. Once refrigerated, l find that the tomatoes lose some of their flavour.
- There are a number of brands of balsamic glaze available. There isn’t a particular brand that l favour. Please make the salad close to the time you will be serving. Drizzling with balsamic glaze ahead of time will stain the bocconcini, not a good look.