Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caprese Salad

I love Caprese salad. Don't let the fancy-sounding name fool you: it's one of the easiest and most delicious things you'll make all summer. I brought Lindsey some basil from my overflowing plant yesterday, and she put me to work creating this masterpiece that I think both Ina AND Giada would approve of:

I had a little too much fun being a food stylist yesterday, if you can't tell...

Here's how you make this basic LBDelicious summer staple.

fresh tomatoes, your choice of variety
fresh mozzarella (either in water or vacuum-packed in plastic... just don't even bother if you're using shredded)
fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Slice up tomatoes so they're about 1/2" pieces. Slice mozzarella in a similar way. Make sure your basil is rinsed and patted dry. Arrange tomatoes on a plate, top with the mozzarella, then the basil, then lightly drizzle the oil and vinegar over the salad. Top with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

There are a few variations that you may want to try out, like my particular favorite: Caprese sandwich. Yummmmy. One of Team Dawmilam's favorite memories centers on this sandwich, and is from the day that I moved to Lexington. We happened upon the Lexington Farmer's Market downtown, and we purchased some delicious tomatoes and basil. I think I ran to Kroger to get the remainder of the ingredients, and we made ourselves a tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwich topped with the oil and balsamic combo (let it get all nice and soaked in the bread before you assemble the sandwich... yum!). We devoured those sandwiches and felt nice and refreshed for the big move, and also felt like it was the best sandwich either of us has ever eaten. To this day, I sometimes think about just how good that sandwich tasted! And, I often recreate it at home in the summer. French bread is really the key ingredient there.

Having a party? Make Caprese skewers! Purchase bocconcini, which is fresh mozzarella just in little balls (usually purchased in water), and grape tomatoes. Skewer the tomatoes and mozzarella balls, set aside. Make a dressing out of the balsamic and oil (whisk together briskly in whatever portion you think tastes good, with salt and pepper), and drizzle the dressing over the skewers. Top with the basil, after it's been chopped finely (the dressing will help the basil stick to the other ingredients. Want a heartier appetizer? Dice up that leftover French bread and put a piece of it on each skewer!

See? I love Caprese salad. It's fresh, healthy, delicious, and one of my favorite things about summer. I hope you make it and enjoy it as much as I do.

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