Here's another super easy summer salad that doesn't have a lot of ingredients, but has lots of great flavor. And, since it's summertime, and we finally have wonderful, fresh tomatoes straight from the Farmer's market, now's the time to make this salad.
Traditionally, Insalata Caprese has only tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. I kick it up a bit with the addition of fresh greens and an easy Balsamic vinaigrette. First of all, I think it looks pretty with the extra green addition. Secondly, I don't think a handful of basil counts towards my daily vegetable intake recommended by the U.S. F. D. A. (But, hey, Ketchup counted for a veg serving in the 80's, right?)
What you need: The best ingredients you can find! These are lovely heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil and spicy basil from my herb garden, fresh Mozzarella cheese, ( this probably wasn't the best quality cheese, but it was BOGO, and that makes it good in my book).
Let's start with the base. Lay down some really fresh Spring mix. Give it a little sprinkle of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Slice up the tomatoes. I like half rounds, but you can do whatever floats your boat. Lay them out in an orderly fashion. Yes. Orderly. It looks neat and pretty that way. Now tuck one whole basil leaf in front of each tomato slice.
And tuck one Mozzarella slice in front of each basil slice.
Sprinkle with a bit more Kosher (or sea) salt and fresh ground pepper.
To give your salad an added bit of color and flavor, chiffonnade some basil, and sprinkle it over the top. (Fancy term for rolling up a stack of basil leaves like a cigar and slicing thinly).
O.K. Let's make a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Start by finely mincing up a shallot or two and a clove of garlic.
Add about 1 tsp Dijon mustard.
Shake in about 3 Tbls good Balsamic vinegar.
Add about 1/4 cup good Extra Virgin Olive oil. Whisk it up, or do what my SIL does and shake it up in a jar with a lid on.
Add a pinch of Kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper and sprinkle in a pinch of fresh chopped herbs Basil, parsley, and thyme all would work well. Taste the dressing. Adjust it to your taste. If you like a touch of sweetness, add a Tbls Agave Nectar or honey. More acidic? Add more Balsamic. Too much acid for you? Add a little more olive oil.
Spoon over your salad and serve immediately. Only dress what will be eaten immediately, as leftover salad will be one soggy inedible mess.
1 lb mixed salad greens
2-3 Garden tomatoes, sliced
6 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, whole
6 basil leaves in chiffonnade
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbls Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh chopped herbs, such as basil, thyme, or flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt and pepper
- Lay salad greens on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Slice tomatoes into half moon shapes, and place one whole basil leaf in front of each tomato slice.
- Slice Mozzarella into half moon shapes, about the same size as tomato slices. Place one slice cheese in font of each basil leaf.
- Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
- Roll 6 stacked basil leaves into a bundle and slice thinly. Sprinkle over salad.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together and spoon over salad.