Meatless Monday: Caprese Salad

29 Aug

Well the tomato plants in my mother’s backyard are producing like crazy, which means lots of tomatoes for me! Fortunately, this fits right into my current lazy, gadget-deprived cooking style (I really can’t wait to move into the new apartment!) as I’ve been making lots of Caprese salads.

I don’t know if anyone gets super-technical about what actually constitutes a Caprese salad, so I figured I’d look it up on that paragon of accuracy, Wikipedia. Turns out a Caprese Salad, or Insalata Caprese, means “salad in the style of Capri” and originated in the region of Campania in southern Italy. “Officially” it’s comprised of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil topped with salt and olive oil.

Enough “technically speaking.” What’s awesome about Caprese salad is that it takes virtually no time to prepare, highlights gorgeous seasonal produce and can be completely adapted to suit your palate and ingredients. Right now, the cherry tomatoes are beating the full-size ones to ripeness, so I’ve been using a mixture of those and an heirloom variety called a Black Plum. I simply slice the tomatoes (with a serrated knife), arrange them on plates, then roughly chop some basil, tear up some mozzarella (I’ve been using Ciliegine mozzarella since its size is comparable to the tomatoes) and distribute them evenly over the tomatoes. Then a drizzle of olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic, a sprinkle of Kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper and we’re ready to eat! (Don’t forget to soak up the juices with a nice crusty bread!)

And a bonus: Caprese sandwich! I spread some pesto onto a dry, pita-like bread, constructed a mini Caprese salad on top, then added a bit of roast turkey. Delicious! (Or so I’m told- I sent that one to work with Adam. He deserved a reward for taking all the salad pictures!)

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5 Responses to “Meatless Monday: Caprese Salad”

  1. frugalfeeding August 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    I adore caprese. The photos are amazing, makes it look extra appetising…

    • Alex August 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      Glad you like them! All credit for the photos goes to Adam, and the fact that we finally have a kitchen with a window!

  2. Lynne Keiper August 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Looks yummy, plan to do the same tomorrow. Glad you’re enjoying the tomatoes!

  3. Jason September 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    I’m glad your mom’s tomato plants are producing. I think mine are suffering from blight, or something. They produce very few tomatoes and about half of the few that grow are eaten by some sort of critter long before they turn red.

    • Alex September 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Oh no, not a blight! My parents have a pretty brutal system of chicken wire around the plants: helps keep critters away, but also makes it a bit of a contortionist act to pick tomatoes!

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