13 April, 2015
The Most Italian Thing You’ll Probably Ever EatPosted in : appetizer, caprese, food, foodie, fresh, funny, humor, Italian, salad, side, summer, tomatoes, Uncategorized on by : Jeanette Rueb
This is my take on a traditional Caprese salad, which is made of tomato, mozzarella, basil, salt, and olive oil. This is more of a… “Ca*me*se” salad. I decided to use balsamic vinegar instead of olive oil and salt.
I say this is “the most Italian thing you’ll probably ever eat” because the original dish was constructed to resemble the Italian flag with its green, white, and red ingredients.
You’re basically creating and consuming the food version of il Tricolore.
I got the inspiration to make this dish out of nowhere. This salad is one my mom used to make relatively often, so it was a flavor combination I was accustomed to and could probably figure out, easily enough.
I did, however, get a lot of the inspiration from the promise of a new plant.
I have a love for plants, so having an excuse to get around my no-more-plants-in-the-apartment rule is a total win-win for me. I welcomed plant #10 into the apartment and set to work on my simple dish.
As I mentioned earlier, the Insalata Caprese salad is in Italian antipasto, or appetizer. The name of the dish literally translates to “salad of Capri,” which is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the Campania region of Italy.
The salad itself is really easy to make. All it requires is fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar.
First, pick a small handful of basil leaves. I always thank my plant if I take something living off of it; it just seems polite. You’ll want to grab a small tomato and rinse it off, along with the basil.
Slice the tomato lengthwise, so you have cross-sections to work with. Do the same with the mozzarella.
These cross-sections will be used to make the pretty-to-look-at version of the dish.
Take the cross section of the top of the tomato and place it skin-down on a small plate. This will make a better base than the bottom of the tomato, which is rounded.
Alternate mozzarella slices and tomato slices until you have two or three of each on the plate.
Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top of the stack and top with a couple of chopped up basil leaves.
While this version looks quite nice, it has the downside of being extremely impractical to eat. I got down the the middle of the stack and one of the tomatoes gave way, sending a slice of mozzarella and a slice of tomato, both covered in vinegar, sailing into my lap. Fortunately, I was still wearing my apron, but I have a feeling that stain will still be there when I take it out of the wash, later.
If you don’t want to watch vinegar-laden food Frisbees fly across your kitchen, might I suggest an alternative:
The only thing I did differently here was I took the slices and I cut them into bite-sized chunks and gently tossed everything together in a bowl.
If you want to add more texture, you could always add some chopped up cucumber. It’s against the traditional style, but it would add a nice crunch to an otherwise soft salad. If you add the cucumber, I recommend the vinegar dressing over the oil dressing.
This is probably one of the easiest recipes you’ll see on here. It takes about five minutes to throw together, so if, at the last minute, someone asks for a salad or a refreshing something-or-other, give them this! As long as they like tomatoes and vinegar, it’s a guaranteed hit.