THE SUMMER SALAD- CAPRESE


I don’t like salads, I don’t know why people do, but I find salads, no matter how much you dressing you slosh it with, rather bland; no character, no personality, no gusto, no seasoning. I’ve made enough to last a life time and I do not like cold food so salads are hardly ever my go to. The more annoying are the weird dressing, especially when you want to go all granola and make your own, I do not always have lemons to hand, matter of fact I do not like lemons very much in food, or vinegar come to think of it. That being said, the Caprese salad is my go-to summer salad for the simple fact that it is in fact, SIMPLE! Three or four ingredients max and that’s your lot. It also has one of my favourite cheeses, burrata. Now the classic Caprese calls for a mozzarella, but the burrata I find to be quite simply sublime a cheese for this; I like it both ways but my preference cozzie livs considering will be a burrata especially on offer.

Now there’s been a debate as to whether or not to add balsamic vinegar to the Caprese salad, here, I often will defer to the Italians whose salad this is. The types of tomato should determine whether or not you add balsamic vinegar. Your tomatoes should be in different stages of ripeness; firm yet juicy something with a bit of a bite you know and you do not want to overpower the taste or have a competition between the vinegar and the tomatoes. It’s really a toss up.

One might think this three ingredients recipe could never be butchered but you’d be wrong because it is for the simple fact that it is so simple, there’s that word again, that people can get it wrong because here they come with their fancy ingredients when simply does it. So here a few pointers if you will;

– No, DO NOT add a squeeze of lemon or your home made salad dressing, its stupid.

– Nobody asked you to douse it in your vinaigrette dressing, its silly.

– Your tomatoes ought to firm, juicy and organic.

– Your extra virgin olive oil should be the best of the best, nothing more will do.

– Basil fresh as a daisy and sublime mozzarella or burrata.

If you are going to skimp on the cheese, please do something else don’t ruin this for us; call your mum if you are so inclined because mums will often always talk you down from the ledge and don’t share the remix version because we will drag you. And whatever the hell you do, DO NOT USE KALE.

Please do not put a new world spin on this old world order salad it is a classic for a reason let your culinary skills rest babe.

Ready? Let’s go:

INGREDIENTS:

  • cherry tomatoes in different states of ripeness and colour: yellow, green, red; make sure they are firm. Farmer’s Markets will often see you good on these. (my farmer’s market sold out hence the red but for the best kinds, go for the rainbow.)
  • some salt
  • extra virgin olive oil- finest quality.
  • burrata (mozzarella is an okay substitute)
  • basil

HOW TO:

  • In a bowl start with your tomatoes, cut them into various sizes, I prefer halves if I am using cherry tomatoes which I always use. (I know San Marzano are the best tomatoes, but they really do not work well here. Trust me I have tried- it hits left of different).
  • Add salt to the tomatoes and let it sit for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add the extra virgin olive oil to the tomatoes and toss together.
  • Add in the basil leaves. Add some whole and tear some to release their aroma. (you can try that thing where you smack the leaves on your palm to open it up.)
  • Place the burrata on top.
  • Toss gently together taste to see if you are fine with the flavour if not, a hair of oil and teeny salt will often do the trick.
  • Serve. Enjoy.

NOTE: if you are going to use balsamic vinegar, it has to be two things: from Modena otherwise go home because you would have come to a gun battle with a knife. Mazzetti Gold Label is a good brand to use; I have used several brands and this always comes up tops for me. Shop around and determine your preferred brand and invest in it; food is one of the few things I will pay premium for where I can. And remember, whatever you do, do not fuck up this incredibly simply salad with your new schtick. We don’t care.