Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caprese Salad

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What'd life be without home grown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.
-John Denver-

This salad is one of the true joys of summer as it is possible to source the various components at the height of their flavor. If you are fortunate enough to have a home garden, there is nothing quite as nice as plucking a few fresh basil leaves from your own plants and a fresh tomato right off the vine. But before we get to the sublimely simple recipe, let's pause for a brief discussion on ingredients.

TOMATO: It is early July in Minnesota and as you can see by the above photo of one of our tomato plants, it's going to be awhile before we can enjoy home grown tomatoes. So second choice for me would be a nice, big, juicy heirloom tomato. But we were out of luck yesterday at Costco and Cub. No heirlooms. Try a farmers market if you have one near by. Otherwise you can do as I did, just settle for a nicely ripened Roma tomato.

MOZZARELLA: Yesterday I had a "be still my heart" moment as I was walking through the Costco cheese department. It caught my eye no different than if it were a 12-headed hyena with the body of a rhinoceros, for this cheese is just as rare as said beast. It is Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. The real deal. From Italy. Here in the states, our supermarkets carry a cheese labeled as "fresh mozzarella", but it's made with cow's milk. In Italy, they make their mozzarella with water buffalo milk. It has a flavor and depth unlike anything made from a cow. But it is impossible to find. Until yesterday. At Costco. Seventeen point six ounces of heaven for just eleven ninety nine. Get off your ass, grab your car keys and drive there immediately. Ignore all stop lights and traffic laws. Do it now!

BASIL: The plant above is from our garden. Given the choice, I will always opt for homegrown because I know the plant has not been exposed to chemicals or pesticides. If you don't have your own garden, buy organic to get the same results. Pick the biggest leaves so that there is more to enjoy with each bite of your salad.

Ingredients to Make Four Salads
1 large tomato, thickly sliced into 4 slices
4 slices  fresh mozzarella
4 large basil leaves
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Set out 4 small plates. Put a slice of tomato on the center of each plate.
  2. Top each tomato with a slice of mozzarella.
  3. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the mozzarella. Add a small sprinkle of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  4. Top each with a basil leaf and serve.
Wine pairing: Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

No comments:

Post a Comment