Monday, June 12, 2023

Staten Island Memory: Insalata Caprese

On Sunday after church, open up your handy My HEB app, today's free coupon is for vine ripe tomatoes. Immediately flash back to lazy summer days in New York and sitting on the back deck in Staten Island and eating Insalata Caprese made from fresh mozzarella from Pastosa Ravioli and tomatoes and basil grown just feet away on the sunny side of the backyard. 

There's only one thing to do with this bounty: make Insalata Caprese. 

Insalata Caprese

  • 3-4 medium size vine ripe tomatoes, preferably of the same size
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, approximately 8-10 oz 
  • Handful basil leaves
  • Large Grain Salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste 
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar 

  1. Wash and dry tomatoes and basil, spin the basil dry or dry with a paper towel. 
  2. Cut each tomato and the mozzarella ball into slices. 
  3. Layer tomato, mozzarella and basil slices on a platter.
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper and kosher salt.  
  5. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  
  6. Serve as a salad or as an appetizer.
  • The mozzarella ball is easier to cut when it's chilled, but this dish is more flavorful at room temperature. If possible, prepare this dish first so the cheese has a chance to warm up and the flavors can meld. 
  • I was taught to use the Italian flag as inspiration when assembling this dish, red-white-green, but I prefer to have the basil between the tomato and the basil, red-green-white, I feel like it's more flavorful that way. 

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