Insalata Caprese (Tomato & Mozzarella Salad)

July 18, 2009

INSALATA CAPRESE

Simplicity wielding the scepter.

Traditional balsamic vinegars are aged at least 12 years to achieve their distinctive scents and flavors. Grapes are slowly cooked in copper cauldrons, then combined with older balsamic vinegars to hasten the acidification process. The preparation is eventually transferred to oak barrels, which infuses it with the wood’s aroma.

24 fresh basil leaves, julienned
4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4″ thick
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil
Good quality balsamic vinegar

Cut the basil leaves into a julienne of thin ribbons by stacking several leaves on top of each other at one time. Then, starting at one long edge of the stack of leaves, roll them up tightly into a compact cigar shape. Cut the roll crosswise into slices about 1/8″ thick. Set aside.

Drain the mozzarella cheese of any excess water and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the mozzarella into slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Lightly sprinkle the top sides of all the tomato slices with the sea salt and black pepper.

Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter or on individual serving plates in an alternative, overlapping pattern. Drizzle them evenly all over with the olive oil and then with the balsamic vinegar. Scatter the basil julienne over the tomatoes and mozzarella.

Pourboire: Consider adding a few leaves of sliced arugula.

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