Caprese Salad

An Italian classic, Insalata Caprese. A perfect and effortless light lunch, ideally enjoyed while sitting on a patio, near the water, with the sun shining on your face. Those three things didn’t happen today, but on my couch, listening to the rain, reading home decor blogs is just as good, right?

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This salad hails from Capri (“Insalata Caprese” = literally, salad from Capri), and was first created in the early 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for their regular guests out for lunch. They would order a fresh tomato and fior di latte (cow’s milk mozzarella), but the island’s salad has since evolved to include rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried oregano – both of which are local products on the island. For myself, in British Columbia, it is comprised of tomato, bocconcini or buffalo mozzarella, and basil. There are many purists who would shudder at the addition of a balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar reduction to a caprese salad… but that is not me. I drizzled mine with Nonna Pia’s Classic Balsamic Reduction, a local product based out of Whistler. While it’s easy to make a reduction yourself, and something I will do in the future, for now I will just rely on Nonna.

It’s good to note that this recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. This salad is a great recipe to throw together when hosting friends, since it is so simple.

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CAPRESE SALAD

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Yields: 1 serving, easily doubled/tripled

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 handfuls of baby arugula, washed and patted dry
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bocconcini slices*
  • 2 to 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, washed and dried
  • 1/2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reduction, optional

METHOD:

In a small bowl, mix arugula with olive oil, toss. Assemble salad, salt + pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic reduction if desired.

* Feel free to use fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala if you can get it. My local grocery store was out of both, so I substituted bocconicini. Avoid pizza mozzarella at all costs in a salad like this – fresh cheese stored in water is ideal.

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