A Caprese salad is an extremely simple and fresh salad from Italy. Because there are very few ingredients it’s all about the freshness of your ingredients with any Caprese salad recipe. Number one is the tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes are imperative to this salad tasting right. In Italy, where this salad was created, beautiful dark red ripe tomatoes grow easily. If you live in a colder climate, you can’t get this quality of tomatoes year round. This is why you should make this Caprese salad recipe while the tomatoes are juicy, fresh, and have peak flavor. Fresh basil is also best when in season. Dried basil won’t work in this salad.
Extra virgin olive oil is the next important ingredient. You should really try to have a high-quality bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Fresh garden tomatoes don’t deserve anything less than the good stuff, first pressed extra virgin olive oil. Our extra virgin olive oil from Crete, sold in our online store, is an amazing EVOO that perfectly compliments the flavor of fresh, garden tomatoes. Next, find a fresh ball of buffalo mozzarella for this recipe. If you know somewhere that makes it fresh, that’s great. If not, the balls of mozzarella prepackaged in the specialty cheese rack at the supermarket are fine.
When assembling this salad, alternate tomato and mozzarella slices in a circle around the plate until you use them all up. Look at the picture above for an example. Then decorate the tomato and mozzarella with whole basil leaves. You can get really creative when assembling a Caprese salad, the sky’s the limit. It almost always looks beautiful though because of the contrast between the red, white, and green. Another version of this is a tossed version with small pearl mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes. I would serve this salad with any of your favorite pasta dishes. Here are a few from Mediterranean Living that would go great with this salad: