Caprese salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
As there is no smoke without fire, it is impossible to imagine a festive table without a salad. Just a couple of decades ago, most domestic banquets were decorated only with olivier and “herring under a fur coat”. Now the situation has changed radically. Both restaurant chefs and housewives try to surprise guests with a variety of recipes.
Caprese Salad (Insalata Caprese) – a simple, but at the same time elegant and tasty dish. It is a worldwide symbol of Mediterranean cuisine. It seemed to embodied a small piece of paradise, which can be seen on the island of Capri (Capri). Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are just three simple ingredients that conquered the world with their harmony. What is the secret of the popularity of plain salad, we will discuss in our article.
There are various myths and legends regarding the origin of Caprese salad. The most popular version refers to the period after the Second World War. It is believed that a particularly patriotic mason invented the recipe. He liked to lay out the filling of the sandwich in the color of the Italian tricolor. So, in one of the dinners, he combined basil, mozzarella and tomatoes on soft bread.
However, there is historical evidence that the birth of the Caprese recipe dates back to the 20s of the 20th century. Then the salad appeared on the menu of the Quisisana hotel on the island of Capri. It was specially prepared for the futurist poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
A dish in the color of the national flag was created to surprise the writer who criticized traditional cuisine. Since then, the salad has become a “regular” in the diet of the famous Italian. Even the King of Egypt Farouk I, who visited Capri in 1951, praised Caprese served as a snack. Caprese salad recipe can be prepared by anyone who does not even have culinary skills. It is enough to have at hand a few ingredients and a couple of tricks in the head.
So, the components necessary for the classic recipe: Tomatoes – 400 g; Mozzarella Cheese – 350 g; Fresh basil – 1 bunch; Olive oil – 6 tablespoons; Salt to taste. Wash the tomatoes and remove the stalk. We wash the basil thoroughly under running water and separate the leaves from the stems. We take out the mozzarella from the brine and let it drain. Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella into slices no more than 1 cm thick. Put the pieces of cheese and vegetables on the plate in turn. Mix olive oil with salt and pour “sliced”. We decorate with basil leaves before serving, because, as a rule, they quickly wither. The acidity of tomatoes is in perfect harmony with the creamy taste of cheese.
Basil in this union is responsible for giving a characteristic aroma. Caprese captivates with its simplicity. But there are a few secrets that you need to know to create the perfect dish.
Tomatoes for Caprese should be fleshy and fragrant. You should never store them in the refrigerator. This makes them more watery and deprives them of a rich taste. Ideal storage – room temperature. If you come across tomatoes without a pronounced taste, then they should be a little thermally “revive”. To do this, cut them into slices, put on a baking sheet, and, sprinkled with olive oil and garlic, simmer for about 2 hours at a minimum temperature.
In addition, if the tomatoes are cut and sprinkled with salt, leaving it in this form for 30 minutes, then their aroma will be much stronger. Mozzarella Selection The only cheese for Caprese is mozzarella. On the shelves you can meet her in a vacuum package. But the best option is to buy the product in brine. How to find out if you are purchasing a quality product? Be guided by the specified ingredients.
Mozzarella production takes time. If the composition contains only milk, salt, rennet and enzymes, then you have high-quality cheese. The presence of cottage cheese or citric acid indicates an accelerated cooking process. Some recipes offer an experiment with a smoked version of the product. But it is better to put it in the salad only part of the total mass of cheese, as the affumicata has a very strong taste. The ideal choice is mozzarella di buffalo. It has a rich creamy taste and literally melts in your mouth. Basil – the finishing touch Fresh basil completes the “tricolor” of Caprese salad.
Choose greens with small leaves. Their taste is much more intense. Sweet varieties of plants fit as much as possible into the outline of the aroma of the dish. These include, for example, the Genovese Basilica. If you doubt the quality of store greenery, then there is no problem growing it in a pot on the windowsill or in the garden. The best time for this is May or June. However, Caprese is considered a summer salad, when grocery baskets abound with fresh vegetables and herbs.
How to diversify the recipe
For some, the simplicity of Caprese salad is an undoubted advantage of the dish. Others, on the contrary, consider him too “naive and boring.” Do not give up positions, because turning it into something new and alluring is surprisingly easy. Just read our tips.