Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese Salad (insalata caprese) - Campania, Antipasto

By • April 13, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a very popular summertime salad named for the Island of Capri which has been enjoyed all over the world since the 1970’s.
It is said to have been invented either in the 1950's at a dinner for Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a famous futurist poet with a disdain for pasta, or in the 1970's in Capri for King Farouk of Egypt.
The key to this dish is buying the best quality ingredients. The tomatoes should be firm but not hard, should smell strongly of tomato, and should be juicy and not mealy. They should taste like a tomato. The mozzarella should be the best quality you can find, preferably buffalo mozzarella, but as long as it is in a container or bag floating in liquid then this should be fine. The mozzarella should be soft but not rubbery. Do not substitute block mozzarella wrapped in plastic for this salad, it is not the same. The basil must be fresh and not dried. It is easier to find fresh basil sometimes as a plant rather than the cut herb. The olive oil should be flavourful. My favourite is unfiltered extra virgin olive oil from Toscana or Liguria.
To see step-by-step illustrated instructions, please go to this page:
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Serves 4

  • 4 medium tomatoes, rinse, dry, trim stem, and slice into ½cm rounds
  • 2 balls of mozzarella (200 grams each), drain and tear by hand into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 basil leaves, wash, dry, and coarsely tear
  • 60 milliliters extra virgin olive oil, best quality possible
  • sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • White crusty bread to serve
  1. Place the tomatoes on the serving plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Layer over-lapping with the mozzarella and basil to form a circle on the plate. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with white crusty bread.

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