Sunday, August 10, 2014

Three Ways to Make Caprese Salad

Love Caprese Salad and all of its variations! Pronounced cah-prehy-zay, I often order this salad or its sandwich version for lunch, but never serve it at home! Silly, it is probably the easiest dish to make ever, tastes delicious, can be presented so beautifully, and won't cost $10!

Caprese is an Italian word, and it literally means "of Capri". A must visit spot on my list...

After tasting Jose Andres' version of Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella at his Beverly Hills Bazaar restaurant, I was inspired to make the salad for lunch and play around with different presentations.
The salad calls for the following ingredients ~ please feel free to tweak the proportions according to your taste!
1-2 tomato (I prefer cherry tomatos)
1-2 slices or balls of fresh buffalo mozzarella, drained and patted dry
4-5 freshbasil leaves chopped in thin long stripes, and a few more for garnish
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

The key to the maximum flavor here is a good... no, great quality ingredients!!!

Here are three of my favorite versions of Caprese salad:

#1 Caprese Salad Inside a Tomato
This is a fun and unique presentation for dinners around the table with family and friends and during cocktail parties. Cute visuals and delicious flavors make every party just so much better!  For cocktail parties I use cherry tomatoes, but if I serve it as a side dish at a dinner party, then a nice beefsteak tomato is a better choice.

Here I carefully cut off the top of the tomato, and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and flesh into a small bowl, reserve.
 Put a small mozzarella ball inside the tomato.
 Add a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper into the tomato flesh and juice. Pour inside the tomato.
 Add inside the tomato a finely chopped basil.  ( 1/2 tsp if you are using cherry tomatoes. Add more depending on the size of the tomato.) Mix.
 Top the tomato with a basil leaf.
Transfer to the plate. 

#2 zClassic Caprese Salad
Here I used cherry tomato. I love them for sweet flavor that is offset by the balsamic vinegar  Portion is small but very flavorful.

#3 zClassic Caprese Salad on Bed of Seasonal Greens
If I am in a mood of a salad as a meal and not as a small appetizer, I love the taste of Caprese salad on a plate full of seasonal greens. I throw in 2 tomatoes quartered, 2 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, a few basil leaves chopped, splash of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, and, of course, freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Delish!
I heard that Italians eat Caprese Salad almost every day. They certainly know the good food!

xo, Zuma A.
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