Cooking With Metachat!

Monday, July 03, 2006

bmarkey's Insalata Caprese

This is the perfect summer lunch, and also makes a nice first course at dinner.

Insalata Caprese

You will need:

Tomatoes, preferably Romas, but whatever you have that is fresh will do in a pinch.
Fresh mozzarella – not the plastic stuff that’s indistinguishable from its wrapping, but the stuff that comes in little balls that are kept in water. (I have a theory that this recipe would also probably work with goat cheese or feta, but I’ve yet to try it.)
Fresh basil – if you’re not growing you own, you really should. DO NOT USE DRIED BASIL IN THIS RECIPE.
Extra virgin olive oil. Don’t scrimp here – get the best you can afford. Trust me.
Salt – I like kosher salt for the extra crunch it provides, but table salt will work.
Pepper – fresh ground, black.

Here’s the deal:

Slice the tomatoes into little round wheel-like slices. (If you don't have Roma tomatoes, wedges will do nicely.) Slice the mozzarella into similar rounds. On a plate (one for each person being served), alternate a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella, and a basil leaf. I have also seen this served with the basil scattered over the top of the tomato/mozzarella alternation; make your own call here, but I like the idea of a leaf per t/m unit. Now, drizzle the whole thing with the olive oil. Do not drench it – just a nice, light coating is what we’re shooting for here. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve with some nice crusty bread, maybe a few kalamata if you have them on hand, and a glass of white wine – nothing says summer like Vinho Verde. I’m partial to Arca Nova, myself. Really, though, any relatively dry white would be good.

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