Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: A classic and bold caprese salad

I am suspicious that I can't find a recipe for caprese salad in any of my heavy weight Italian cookbooks.

Certainly I do not need to see a recipe for this simple, and delicious salad, made with only tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, but a little authentication is a good thing.

If you know your stuff, you know the name means a salad of Capri, and we assume that is its origin, but then again the origin doesn't really matter

It is a very good summertime salad, and there is room for interpretation and innovation.

Here is the classic recipe, with some suggestions for those who want to be bold.

CLASSIC CAPRESE SALAD

4-6 farmer's market red, ripe tomatoes

Small hand full of fresh basil leaves, or cilantro

4-5 thin slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella, or scoops of fresh ricotta

Best quality olive oil, optionally mixed with a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar, or if you dare, Asian-style rice vinegar

Coarse sea salt

Mississippi options: diced jalapeño peppers, chopped smoked crispy fried bacon, pickled okra

This salad is so simple to put together. Don't slice the tomatoes too thin, top with the cheese and fresh herb leaves. Combine the olive oil and vinegar separately and then give it a good mix. It will separate if you let it sit. Add any of the optional ingredients you like. Lastly add a pinch of sea salt and serve chilled. 

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