Caprese Salad (Classic)
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Credit: Chef Lance Cook
the National Culinary Review, July 2020
From the Chef
“The simplicity of the Caprese salad (insalata Caprese) is what Chef Lance Cook, CEC, CCA, executive chef at Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida, likes most about it. A hallmark of Italian cuisine, the dish “is a celebration of the season and locality,” Chef Cook says. Legend has it that the salad’s origins date back to post-World War I Italy, when a patriotic cook wanted to showcase the colors of the country’s flag in a dish. It first appeared on a restaurant menu at the Hotel Quisisana in the early 1920s, but it was only in the 1950s when the salad was turned into a sandwich that its popularity peaked and it became a staple in Capri. The addition of other ingredients, including Balsamic vinegar, and the switch to bufala (Buffalo) mozzarella came in later years.”
1 each beefsteak tomato
1 each ovoline buffalo mozzarella
3 each fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Select the best vine-ripened tomatoes you can find. Slice the tomatoes in about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. Do the same with the mozzarella cheese. Chiffonade fresh basil leaves. Arrange on the plate as desired. Season with kosher salt and pure ground black pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Finish with the basil chiffonade.
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