Tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Yum. Staple foods if you ask me. The Italians think so too, just ask them. Conveniently, if you use the traditional variety of all the ingredients the dish’s colors match those of the Italian flag.
Insalata caprese comes from the Campania region of Italy. Traditionally, the salad is not dressed with balsamic vinegar, but with salt instead. You should try it both ways, I tend to prefer the pop that the vinegar imparts.
I like to switch things around a little and use heirloom tomatoes. Not only do their different colors make the dish more interesting, their subtle but complex flavors are really set off by the tangy balsamic vinegar.
Nothing too complex here.
Balsamic vinegar (if you want to mix it up, try while Balsamic)
Basil (another good place to experiment. Standard Italian basil, red basil, even Thai basil!)
This is merely a matter of assembly. I like to lay the salad out as in the photo above, or stack them, alternating ingredients. I try to grab small medium and large heirlooms when I shop, that way I can slice them up and layer them vertically from largest to smallest. There is so much that can be done with this already visually stimulating dish. In the future I would like to experiment with putting this dish on unique plates and bowls.
There isn’t much more to say about this simple dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
N.B. An insalata caprese is one of those dishes in which the quality of your ingredients really matter. You won’t be disappointed if you spend a little extra on any or all of the ingredients.