As the summer sun paints a vibrant palette of colors, there’s no better way to relish the season’s bounty than with a classic Italian Caprese Salad. Celebrated for its simplicity, this staple dish beautifully balances the fresh flavors of ripe tomatoes, aromatic basil, and creamy mozzarella. It’s the perfect accompaniment to summer lunches and dinners, inviting you to experience a delightful taste of Italy in every bite.
The Ingredients: Nature’s Best Produce
At the heart of this refreshing salad lies a combination of nature’s finest:
- 2 pounds of tomatoes, ideally a mix of varieties and sizes
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- A pinch of flaky sea salt (Maldon is a great choice)
- 1 cup of loosely packed fresh arugula leaves
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup of loosely packed basil leaves, torn
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- Toasted ciabatta bread for serving
Simple Steps for a Sumptuous Salad
Preparing the Caprese salad is a joy in itself, an exercise in mindfulness as you handle the fresh ingredients.
- Start by slicing and wedging the tomatoes. Place them in a large bowl along with the sliced shallot. Pour the red wine vinegar over the tomatoes and shallot, sprinkling a pinch of flaky salt. Toss the mixture gently to combine and set aside for 5 minutes to marinate.
- Next, scatter the arugula leaves across a serving platter. Spoon the tomatoes and shallots over the arugula, ensuring an even spread. Tuck the mozzarella pieces between the tomatoes, adding a creamy contrast to the tangy tomatoes and peppery arugula.
- Pour the red wine vinegar and any remaining juices from the bowl over the salad, adding an extra layer of flavor. Scatter the torn basil leaves on top, bringing the classic aroma that’s synonymous with an authentic Caprese salad. Drizzle the assembly with olive oil for a glossy finish.
- To finish, season the salad with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve it with toasted ciabatta bread on the side to soak up the delicious juices.
This timeless Caprese salad is a tribute to the joy of seasonal eating, capturing the essence of summer in a dish. With every forkful, you’ll be reminded of why it’s hailed as the best thing to eat all summer long.