caprese salad

Caprese salad: the Italian recipe for the summer

Caprese salad tells about Italy in summer: simple, fresh and colorful. It is a recipe consisting of very few ingredients, yet it is famous all over the world. It’s a traditional Italian recipe.

Its colors are a real hymn to the Italian flag: the green of the basil, the white of the mozzarella and the red of the tomatoes. A real triumph of Italian patriotism also because it concentrates the genuine and simple flavors of excellent Italian products.

But let’s find out more about this Caprese Salad.

Caprese salad: a bit of history

Of course, the origin of the Caprese salad is only the geographical origin: the magnificent and paradisiacal island of Capri, in the Gulf of Naples, one of the most beautiful and suggestive Italian islands.

Known worldwide for Villa Malaparte, the enchanting Blue Grotto and the Faraglioni. According to one of the legends related to this dish, it was invented by a particularly patriotic bricklayer who stuffed his sandwiches with tomato, mozzarella and basil to recall the colors of the Italian flag.

Another legend says that it was invented at the “Quisisana” hotel in Capri, in homage to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, an exponent of the artistic movement called Futurism. In his “Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine” he criticized pasta dishes because they were too thought out. So in the 1920s, during a stay in Capri, the carb-free plate of Caprese salad appeared on the menu for the first time.

Caprese salad: the original version

According to the original version, the caprese must be made up of beefsteak tomatoes, with a typically irregular shape, whose pulp is almost seedless and highly aromatic. The mozzarella must absolutely be buffalo, DOP product, Campania excellence that has an inimitable taste. To complete the dish, basil, salt and a drizzle of Italian extra virgin olive oilAccording to the older islanders, this is the version that was also served to the famous King Farouk of Egypt during his stay on the island of Capri in 1951: he was ecstatic.

Caprese salad: the new versions

Although the classic recipe involves the use of only those ingredients, numerous versions of the Caprese salad have been invented based on the taste of each cook. 

There are those who use mozzarella morsels (bocconcini) instead of large mozzarella or those who replace it with Parmigiano Reggiano. There are those who choose cherry tomatoes instead of beefsteak tomatoes. Some people prefer to use green tomatoes or who still use dried tomatoes. There are those who prefer salad in a bowl and those who prefer it on the skewer. Some add capers and olives, or anchovies to transform the caprese into a “marinara” version.

Others add tuna or bresaola or pesto. While there are also those who add avocado and lime to give an exotic touch. The Caprese salad, however, traditional or alternative, still remains one of the unmistakable dishes of Italian cuisine.

Caprese salad: 10 tips to make it perfect

The Caprese salad despite being an extremely simple dish deserves little attention which, if followed, will make it even tastier.

Here are 10 tips to make a perfect caprese

  1. Choose fresh buffalo mozzarella. It can be replaced with fiordilatte mozzarella, but in any case, it must always be fresh.
  2. It is very important to keep the mozzarella at room temperature so as not to lose too much milk, otherwise it would alter the flavor of the tomato. To eliminate excess milk, dab with a little kitchen paper.
  3. Avoid canned tomatoes, always preferring organic ones.
  4. Choose ripe and crunchy tomatoes, trying to cut the slices of the same size.
  5. Dry the tomatoes, as well as the mozzarella, to remove excess water.
  6. Salt should be added only on tomatoes and not on mozzarella.
  7. Choose the Neapolitan type basil, with large leaves, and break it with your hands. Add it just before serving the caprese because it tends to blacken.
  8. Choose only the good Italian extra virgin olive oil. You don’t need to add too much, a drizzle of oil is enough and enhances the dish.
  9. Seasonings such as mayonnaise, vinegar, olives should not be added: they would cover the balanced taste of mozzarella and tomato.
  10. There are those who add oregano to the dish or those who replace it with basil: the important thing is that it is of good quality and that not too much is added, otherwise it will cover the flavors.

Caprese salad: the recipe

Ingredients

800g of beefsteak tomatoes

800g of buffalo mozzarella from Campania

A few leaves of fresh basil

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Preparing time: 5 min

Serves: 4

Directions

Wash the tomatoes and remove the green stalk, rinse the basil and set it aside.

Slice both the tomatoes and the buffalo mozzarella from the side of the length.

Spread the tomato and mozzarella slices neatly on a plate, alternating them.

Pour the olive oil and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix and pour the dressing obtained on the two main ingredients.

Just before serving, decorate the dish with a few basil leaves.

Serve the Caprese at room temperature.

Enjoy your Caprese salad!

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