Caprese Salad, Summer’s Easiest Appetizer

caprese tomato salad

You need to fix a meal, but  it’s too hot to spend time in the kitchen. Let fresh tomatoes come to the rescue. Caprese salad, an Italian mix of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, is the appetizer you can put together in minutes – the snack to serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices – the side dish for a summery meal like our grilled chicken wings or our vegan garlicky roasted cauliflower.

Caprese salad is seasoned with salt and olive oil, and made lively with basil or aragula. Couldn’t be simpler. If you prefer to dribble some good home-made pesto over the salad, even better. Scatter some olives around the vegetables and gently mix them in – better yet.

Have some dried, ground oregano or za’atar herb handy? Sprinkle a light seasoning of either on the salad, about half a teaspoon. Not traditional, but tasty.

Caprese Salad

6-8 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

12 oz. mozzarella cheese balls, halved

A handful of fresh basil or aragula leaves, or 2 tablespoons pesto

Olive oil to dribble over the salad, if not using pesto

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the tomatoes and cheese in a shallow bowl. Tuck the basil or aragula leaves in here and there. Season with salt and pepper and optional dried ground oregano or za’atar. Dribble olive oil over all, or spoon pesto over the salad.
You can also compose your Caprese salad of thickly sliced large tomatoes and slices off a large ball of mozzarella. Place them on a platter in alternate slices, season, and serve.
Caprese is a good picnic salad: package the sliced tomatoes and cheese separately, put the seasonings in a small jar, and put the whole thing together when you’re ready to eat.
Buon appetito!

cherry tomato salad

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