The classic Caprese salad originates from Italy, which is made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and seasoned generously with salt and olive oil. What is interesting with this dish is that, like the Margherita Pizza, the colours of the food resemble the Italian flag of green, red and white.
There are many variations to a Caprese salad, including a pesto dressing instead of olive oil, or even using balsamic vinegar. You can also substitute the olive oil for a delicious vinaigrette with tarragon to really make the tomatoes sing in flavour.
- To prepare the caprese salad, slice the tomatoes and arrange on a large platter.
- Tear the mozzarella and arrange this around the tomatoes.
- Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and season well with Maldon Salt and cracked black pepper.
- Finally garnish with some fresh basil leaves and then serve!
What to serve with Caprese Salad?
A Caprese salad is typically served as a side or appetizer, although it can be enjoyed as a lighter lunch/dinner option. However, you can serve many things with a Caprese salad to elevate the dish even further.
Grilled vegetables pair well with the salad to give texture and a gentle smoky flavour. Try peppers, eggplant or perhaps delicious charred courgettes, topped with tarragon dill and basil.
Additionally, adding a protein like chicken, shrimp, or steak make great additions to the dish to make a heartier main course option.
Our favourite is adding starch to the dish! Adding some crusty bread or pasta will transform the dish to have texture, whilst also having something to soak up the dressing. By adding your favourite pasta, you are essentially making a delicious pasta salad that can be enjoyed with friends and family.
What other cheeses could work in this recipe?
Instead of using the classic Mozzarella cheese in a Caprese salad, burrata cheese in a fantastic substitute due to it’s molten middle of cream. If you are using burrata, make sure to layer the tomatoes and basil first on the dish, and then place the ball of burrata on top…buon appetito!
What are the best tomatoes to use for a Caprese Salad?
The most used tomatoes for a Caprese salad are heirloom tomatoes, due to their balanced flavour in being sweet and hearty. You can also use fresh cherry tomatoes or even vine tomatoes. If you want something more substantial, try using beefsteak tomatoes in the mix to bulk up the salad.
How to present a Caprese salad?
Start of by using a large serving plate or platter as the base for the salad. The bigger the plate, the more room it will allow you to showcase the beautiful red, white and green colours of the food.
You need to arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on the platter in an alternating pattern. After you have laid these ingredients down, you can then scatter the basil leaves over the tomatoes and mozzarella.
After this, season generously with Maldon Salt and cracked black pepper to elevate the sweetness of the tomatoes and counteract the bitterness of the basil.
With a final glug of olive oil, you are able to serve immediately with a serving spoon.