Mozarella & Tomatoes & Basil

It’s all in the title, that simple it is and not much can get simpler than this, in my opinion.

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Add some good quality olive oil, a sprinkle of salt & pepper to season and you’re right there.

Caprese Salad aka Insalata Caprese. Wide smile.

As I’m writing this, it is sunny, light breeze is playing with our garden curtain, tree leaf shadows are dancing in a fancy flickering manner all around, I can hear the neighbour mowing the lawn two houses away from here – the smell of freshly cut grass, so immense! – all of this making me feel very summery indeed – I almost don’t want to let go as the end of August dangerously approaches.

Just like I probably can never give up on this refreshing, beautiful salad, which you can make anytime you like, not just on hot days. We often make it on Sunday evenings, it has become a sort of a little habit, especially as a desperate attempt to balance heavier Sunday roast lunches.

If you need a little help further on with it, let me tell you that truly all you need for this classic echoing colours of the Italian flag is 250 – 300 g Mozarella cheese (amount depending on the number of servings and your appetite – I use cca 250g for 2 salad portions) and 2 large ripe tomatoes.

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To dress and season you will also need a good handful of fresh basil leaves, 2 – 4 tbsp good quality extra – virgin olive oil, salt and freshly – ground black pepper.

To make the salad, simply drain the Mozarella cheese and slice it evenly. Slice the tomatoes similarly, in about 5 mm thick rounds. Then arrange these red and white rounds one over another on a large serving platter – I usually follow a circular pattern from the edge towards the inside of the plate.

When adding the basil leaves, you can either pull them apart by hand and only scatter them all over the cheese and tomatoes, or you can insert single leaves in between the cheese and veg slices – again, in a pattern you personally prefer.

Do not make this salad by assembling all ingredients and tossing them as you often do with other leaf salads – the chances are you will end up with a good mash of tomato and cheese juices – remember, Mozarella is very moist, semi – soft kind of cheese.

For the final touch drizzle the salad with olive oil and sprinkle salt and black pepper to your taste.

We love it served with freshly toasted Ciabatta bread (Italian white bread; but you can also use baguettes or any nice artisan bread), sliced or just torn.

There’s always a little formal battle going on at the end of the meal when we wipe the veg, cheese & oil juices on the bottom of the plate with it. Absolute bliss!

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For a slight variation you can use cherry tomatoes combined with mini Mozarella balls, or indeed tomberries (very cute, only about 1 cm small tomatoes) and Mozarella pearls.

You can also dress the salad with Pesto alla Genovese which is a wonderful mixture of basil leaves, pine nuts, hard cheese, garlic and olive oil.

Hope you like it just as much as we do! Wink



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