Garden Caprese Salad – Summer Simple

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(Garden Caprese Salad – recipe in post)

I love Caprese flavors – the simple combination of fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella. From pastas and pizzas, to antipasti, salads, or simple plucked-from-the-garden snacking. Well, except for the mozzarella. My mozz tree didn’t fruit this year.

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My basil is going strong, though, and after pulling a few leaves for my salad I had the great pleasure of cupping my hands to my face and inhaling the sweet scent of fresh herb on my palms. My tomatoes are still green, but summer warmth made perfectly ripe globes an easy find.

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I topped my salad with a spill of olive oil, a drizzle of aged balsamic, and a sprinkling of salt – but leaving it naked is certainly allowed. Serve it up as I did, or make it bite-sized with cherry tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls. For a more substantial meal, roughly chop and toss with al-dente pasta and a handful of fresh parmesan.

Simple Caprese Salad

Tomatoes – large hothouse or heirloom, or small cherry or grape
Fresh mozzarella – a large ball, or small balls
Fresh basil
Olive oil, balsamic, and salt – to taste

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, and layer with basil. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Or, skewer cherry tomatoes, balls of mozzarella, and basil for easy to eat hors d’oeuvres. Or, roughly chop and stir into al-dente pasta – serve warm or chilled.

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Buon Appetito!

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16 Responses to Garden Caprese Salad – Summer Simple

  1. Stephanie Cracknell June 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Beautiful! Now why don’t mine ever look this good. I made this recently and had to listen to a patient explanation from my husband that the buffalo mozzerella I bought him is NOT the same as mozerella di bufala!

    Live and learn!

    • Willow June 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      It can be hard to stack things up neatly, for sure, but as long as it tastes good that’s what matters.

      And you can tell your husband – Mozarella Di Bufala is Italian for Buffalo Mozzarella. They are the same thing. (Wikipedia can attest: ). Perhaps it wasn’t up to his standards, but don’t worry, you got the right thing. ;)

    • John July 4, 2012 at 1:07 am #

      I suspect it’s one of those region-specific “protected” names. Just like sparkling wine (champagnes) are not authentic champagnes unless they’re made in Champagne, France, many placee make buffalo mozzarella but it’s likely not authentic Mozarella Di Bufala Campana unless it’s from Campania, Italy. The taste can be quite different if it’s from a different region, just like authentic champagne tastes different than an American sparkling wine.

    • Willow July 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Aha! You’re probably right, John. Thanks!

  2. June 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    what a GORGEOUS salad! Caprese salads are my absolute favorite! that mozz!! and i love your presentation!

  3. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes June 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Beautiful Willow, I love the dark backdrop!

    I cannot wait until August when my tomatoes are ready for caprese – Basil is in full swing, but I still have a little while for tomatoes….and with fresh garden tomatoes – simple is best!

    • Willow June 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      You said it! Fresh tomatoes are one of my favorite things about summer.

    • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes July 1, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      I just picked up the first locally grown tomatoes of the year from the farmstand – so freakin’ amazing!

  4. Eileen June 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Caprese is hands down my favorite summer salad! I can’t wait until the farmer’s market explodes in ripe tomatoes. :)

  5. Jen @JuanitasCocina June 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    This is my favorite salad. I’ll eat caprese every day. Literally.

    Simply beautiful!

  6. Foodie Stuntman June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Classic flavors and looks good too!

  7. Riley June 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I love simple recipes that keep me far away from the stove in the summer. This looks delicious!

  8. Courtney J June 22, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    Absolutely stunning!!!!! :) I cannot tell you how much I love caprese salads. This one looks incredible. Tomatoes and basil are one timeless pair. I want to frame the photo! *hehe*

  9. Kat June 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I hear those mozzarella trees are really difficult to get to fruit.. I love caprese salads, it is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Really great for summertime!

    • Willow June 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      Indeed! Fingers crossed for next year. ;)

  10. From Valeries Kitchen June 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Caprese is one of the main reasons I look forward to summer. I love the simplicity. It’s a great choice to add in to a party menu.

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