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Friday, July 18, 2014

An Updated (and Better) Caprese Salad

There are those who will say one can’t improve on the Italian classic named after the island of Capri on which it originated.  I was one of them… until recently. It’s one of those “I wouldn’t have believed it until I tasted it” phenomena.  Tasting is believing!  And, now is the time to try this gem as nectarines are in their prime.

Like the original Caprese salad, the new version is easy and fast (less than 30 minutes to assemble---no cooking is required).  The new rendition actually uses both nectarines and tomatoes (also coming in to their perfect season).  And, both mint, as well as basil, are used.  Important tip:  do NOT skip the mint as it’s one of the recipe’s secrets.  Also, do not tear or cut either of these herbs until right before serving (to preserve their best aromas).

Ingredients (6 salads served as a first course):

~ 2 lbs of assorted heirloom tomatoes (the smaller are often more flavorful)

~ 1.5 lbs of perfectly ripe white nectarines (yellow can also be substituted)

~ 8 oz of mozzarella or burrata

~ ¼ cup of basil (either the green or purple varietal)

~ ¼ cup of mint

~ 1 Tablespoon peach vinegar (can substitute another fruit vinegar, or Champagne vinegar)

~ ½ Tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar (light or dark)

~ 3 Tablespoons of good quality EVOO (I used ½ regular EVOO, and ½ Basil    flavored EVOO)

~ Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt


Cut tomatoes and nectarines into wedges.  Slice cheese.  Place on platter (or individual serving dishes).  Scatter freshly chopped basil and mint over salad.  Wisk together the vinegars and oil in a small bowl, then drizzle over salad.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Buon appetito!

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