No salad menu is complete without the simple and delicious Caprese Salad. But you must have fresh basil leaves to make this salad, which can be a challenge during winter months. Pick a good supermarket and you will have no problem. I have included recipes for a regular Caprese Salad, a Mini-Caprese Salad that uses garlic and lemon juice and my great friend Linda Lange's Caprese Salad. You may want to try all of these recipes and then pick your favorite. I prefer the addition of the garlic and the lemon juice, but I use the sliced tomatoes and cheese approach of the first recipe and Linda's recipe instead of the balls of mozzarela shown in the mini-caprese salad.
Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Combine lemon juice, garlic, basil and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process to form a smooth dressing. Combine tomatoes, cheese and dressing in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a few torn basil leaves.
I particularly enjoy the Caprese salad made by my great friend, Linda Lange, so I asked for her recipe and it is shown below.
5, Medium to large ripe tomatoes (sliced)
Big handful of fresh Basil – washed, rolled and cut into ribbons
Small Basil leaves for decoration
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1/3 cup
Salt and Pepper
One or two cloves of garlic, pressed or finely diced
A few sprinkles of Tuscan Herbs (maybe ¼ tsp.)
1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese (1 large ball or 2 medium balls)
Slice the tomatoes and place the slices on a large tray.
Salt and Pepper the tomato slices lightly.
In a one cup measuring cup pour in the 1/3 cup of olive oil and add the garlic and the Tuscan Herbs. Mix gently.
With a teaspoon spread some of the garlic from the oil mixture over each of the tomato slices.
Slice the Mozzarella cheese about 1/8th inch to ¼” thick and place a slice of it on each slice of tomato.
Drizzle the rest of the olive oil mixture over the tomatoes and cheese.
Dress the tomatoes and cheese with the ribbons of fresh Basil. Be sure to add some of the whole small leaves to decorate the finished product.