Insalata Caprese (or, Caprese Salad).

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Bear with me, I’m not feeling my greatest this morning. Not that you really want to know about it – this is a food blog, and if I told you I’m sick to my stomach and my entire body aches, well, that doesn’t sound appetizing.

This is one of my most favorite, simplest things to make during the summer. Because everything is so fresh. And it doesn’t require any cooking or standing over a hot stove when it’s 90 degrees out.

Caprese salad is a salad with tomato, basil and mozzarella. I used heirloom tomatoes because they have that burst of flavor that put other tomatoes (Beefsteak, Plum, Roma) to shame, in my opinion. But they are a little pricey – for $3.99/lb. at my local supermarket, this is the first and probably last time I’ll splurge on tomatoes, until I can find a better deal (say, grow it in my garden one day).

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This variety is called Ugly Ripe. Very appetizing-sounding, isn’t it? But it has a flavor that you can’t imagine. Tasting an Ugly Ripe is like tasting a tomato for the first time ever. It’s what a tomato SHOULD taste like.

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Caprese Salad (makes 1 plate)

printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, cut into thin slices
  • basil leaves
  • mozzarella, cut into thin slices
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • lemon juice
  • Italian seasoning (optional)

Directions:

1) Arrange the tomato, basil and cheese in a circular pattern on a plate. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil (1-2 Tbsp) over salad, squeeze about 1 tsp. lemon on top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning (optional). Cool in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to let flavors infuse before serving.

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Using a cheese slicer like this one helps a lot. It cuts these extremely delicate thin slices. When I cut them by hand, I get, like, 4 slices. Ok, not really.

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Wash your basil leaves and pat dry.

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Look how cool the tomato looks on the inside! It looks like a flower.

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Sprinkle salt and pepper, drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil (depending on your tastes), and squeeze about 1 tsp. lemon juice.

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The Italian seasoning is optional.

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Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to let flavors infuse before serving. Enjoy! 

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30 Thoughts on “Insalata Caprese (or, Caprese Salad).

  1. Sorry to hear you don’t feel good… your photos still look amazing. $3.99 for heirloom tomatoes isn’t that bad! Where I live (Naples, FL) we rarely get those beautiful tomatoes and when we do they are like $5.99 a pound… outrageous! Hope you’ll feel better soon!

  2. Chiara – but I thought Heirlooms came from Florida! That’s strange. Wow, I guess 3.99 isn’t as bad as I thought…but I heard that they are getting more popular so hopefully the prices go down because of that.

  3. Mmm… I thought they came from California or somewhere not as humid as Florida. If I had anything resembling a green thumb I would try to grow them, but I can barely keep basil alive…

  4. Beth on July 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm said:

    How ironic! I just hit up the farmers market yesterday and came home with tomatoes, fresh basil, and handmade mozzarella! I’m definitely going to be trying this out tonight. Hope you feel better as the day progresses!!!

  5. Candy on July 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm said:

    Here is the article about the Ugly Ripe Heirloom from Florida – http://www.slashfood.com/2007/01/22/uglyripe-tomato-back-in-markets/ though I think they are growing in a lot of states now. I remember my friends who had a farm in upstate NY grew TONS of them.
    I can’t keep a plant alive either. I had a cactus die before!!! :P Good thing my cats can water themselves ;)

  6. Thanks for the well wishes guys! :)

  7. Thanks for the link. It was interesting. So I guess that I can’t find them because it’s not the right season… and also because my local grocery stores only buy cherry tomatoes from Santa Sweet.
    Your cats are beautiful. I always forgot to tell you that I have a cat that looks just like Peaches. They would make a really cute couple =)

  8. Excellent food photography! Simple yet elegant Salad!

  9. BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I adore caprese salad so much! I giant plate of it with some crusty whole grain bread makes a perfect dinner. Heirloom tomaotoes make it so elegant!

  10. Chiara – I was trying to have Peaches and Monkey get married so they aren’t just ‘living in sin’ together. But my husband says I can’t marry the cats against their will! Hehehe….

    Chris – Thank you! I love simple too.

    Jen – I love it too! I ate that entire plate by myself, btw :)

  11. smallangie on July 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm said:

    Looks delicious! Although I don’t have heirlooms, I am going to try making it with regular tomatoes. Thanks.

  12. I’ve always made it with regular tomatoes in the past too. Enjoy! :)

  13. Those tomatoes are gorgeous! This is my favorite thing to make with tomatoes and basil from my garden. There’s nothing like the sweetness of a tomato still warm from the sun.

  14. IrishPirate on July 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm said:

    We used to sell tons of different kinds of heirloom tomatoes when I worked at a garden center. Who knew there were probably almost 50 different kinds of tomatoes??

  15. Beth on July 29, 2009 at 5:40 pm said:

    I just found some uglyripe heirlooms at my local Krogers! I picked one up to try out.

  16. SuperStud on July 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm said:

    Now I’m hungry!! This looks great, excellent pictures too by the way. The first display is awesome!

  17. I love caprese salad! And you make it look so good with your photos!!!! I love heirloom tomatoes too!! Yours are so pretty!

  18. Caprese is one of my favorite salads. I could it any day for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  19. Cookin Canuck – I’m jealous, you have your own garden! :) Ahh the tribulations of apartment living :P

    Beth – Oh i hope you enjoy it!

    SuperStud – Thanks for the compliment!

    Liesl – Caprese salad is just really photogenic with all those colors. It’s hard not to get a good picture of it :)

    Hummingbird – I ate one for dinner, then for my lunch the next day. I just don’t get tired of it…

  20. Irish Pirate – 50 varieties eh? Wegmans sells a bunch but I don’t know how many kinds, I bought 3 of the same kind for some strange reason. I was just drawn to the weird bulbous folds, haha!

  21. I love Caprese Salad and it’s so easy to make. Your tomatoes look out this world. I’m getting the seeds at TomatoGrowerSupply and gettting prepared to plant Ugly ripe next year. Check my “simple” version at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_320/title_How-to-make-an-Italian-Insalata-Caprese/

  22. Hi Jackie! Thanks for the comments. Yours looks fantastic too!

  23. Great looking caprese salad!

  24. Gorgeous tomatoes and the caprese salad looks excellent! It’s always my favorite!

  25. Thank you Kevin and Natasha!

  26. Pingback: You say tomato.. « Snap Happy Girl

  27. Sorry for such a delayed comment — I just recently stumbled upon your website (via Closet Cooking), so have been digging through the older posts. Love your blog!

    Just wanted to offer another mozzarella tip: use a butter slicer (approx. 5-inch long metal contraption featuring several parallel metal wires). It’s essentially a mega-cheese slicer (for soft cheeses, at least). Just lay out your log of mozzarella, place the butter slicer on top, push down, and the entire log of cheese gets sliced at one time. (There might be a little moosh on each end, if you don’t trim it in advance, but there won’t be much.)

    Keep up the great work — thanks for taking us along on your adventures!

  28. Amy – Thanks for the comment! Better late than never, haha! Thanks for the great tip too, I’ll have to look for one of those butter slicers sometime. I actually just made a caprese salad tonight, but in the laziest way possible – I tried slicing off mozzerella with a steak knife because I didn’t feel like using the cheese slicer. But hey, nobody saw it…

  29. Candy, I won’t tell about your using a knife if you don’t tell anyone I made up the word “moosh”. ;)

    I figure any method of getting fresh mozzarella on the dinner plate is a good method!

  30. very good. it looks just for summer. I’d like to try it today!!
    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/salads/caprese-salad

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