Platters. Bowls. Plates. Saucers. Skewers. Cups. Tarts. Tartlets. Galettes. Family style. Individual style. So many ways to enjoy! I’m talking about the wildly popular and super delicious caprese salad! Honestly, I’ve not met one person in my travels or anyone who’s broken bread at my table who doesn’t love this ubiquitously refreshing and tasty Italian ‘Insalata Caprese’.
Translated simply, ‘insalata caprese’ means salad of Capri. And, what might come to your mind’s eye as you think of the Isle of Capri? Something gorgeous, fresh, vibrant, relaxing, almost movie like, surreal. At its most basic level, it consists of fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, and salt. But, at its ‘boho’ level, it can be paired with so many other ingredients that will expand the flavor profile. These variations always spin from the foundational caprese salad. All we’re doing is altering the style somewhat.
Now what makes the salad even more fun is the idea of redefining and shaping the design of it. It’s fun to play with how you’re going to serve your caprese salad. Changing it up and presenting to your guests will definitely bring twinkles to eyes and smiles to faces.
Before you dive in and try some new things, there’re three important things to remember annnnneeeetime you make a caprese salad.
First, the freshest tomatoes. Never refrigerated (ever). Home grown or from the farmers market is best. Next. basil. It’s got to be brilliantly green and perky fresh leaves.
Secondly, it’s got to be sweet, or Genovese, basil. I try to grow my basil year round. While I live in a good climate to do this, if I didn’t I’d be buying the ‘live’ basil at the grocer where the roots and dirt are still there or the whole stem basil leaves.
And, finally, the mozzarella. OMG, buffalo burrata (in water) tops the charts. I admit, it’s pricey, but if you want an experience that will make the littl’ hairs tingle on the back of your neck, then this is it. There’s a lot of differences in mozzarella. Here are three good posts of better understanding it: Recipe Geek Real Simple The Kitchn
Scroll down through these pictures of caprese salads that I’ve served to my guests. Hope they give you some ideas. And, I’ll be adding to this post as I create new styles and designs! Have some creative juices flowing all the time! xoxo ~ally
Caprese 1: Yes, this is me hold the large bowl. I love the white that just showcases the vibrancy of the colors of the food. A combo of large sliced farmers market tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, whole basil leaves, mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Oh, yes, sea salt and pepper!
Caprese 2: Now this salad gives us the basics of caprese but you’ve got a burst of sweetness with the red grapes and a crunch munch with the cucumbers. And, if you use cukes, get the mini ones or English cukes. Regular cukes have this thick ‘waxy’ skin that just isn’t palatable. I chose a platter, vintage and antiquEEE for displaying this canvas of happiness!
Caprese 3: I wanted to add a splash of beautiful contrasting color with the small turquoise tray. Small sweet cherry tomatoes with basil leaves and mozzarella, drizzling of extra virgin olive oil and wedges of lemon. It’s basic and fresh and perfect with any meat!
Caprese 4: Skewers! And, they’re loaded with other flavors and textures to compliment the basic caprese. I strategically selected yellow pepper chunks, mini cuke half pieces and pimento stuffed olives. The mozzarella balls make it really easy for threading on the skewer. And, just fold the large basil leaves and slide on the skewer. It’s like a salad on a stick! Topping it off as you can see, thick cut crispy bacon!
Caprese 5: This bowl is a most ‘classic’ caprese. Well, with the exception of the cherry tomatoes. As you’ve probably noticed, I really love my basil leaves to be whole!
Caprese 6: Ohhhhh, talk about something fabulous! Breakfast, lunch or dinner! A caprese open faced grilled ‘sandwich’. Now make sure you’ve got a great artisan bread. Slice it thick. Butter and grill in a hot cast iron skillet. Then layer on your caprese basics. The drizzling of this blueberry balsamic just took it off the charts. Next time, however, I’ll scatter a few blueberries on it, too!
Caprese 7: The caprese deli smoked mesquite turkey sandwich! If you want to bite into something that tastes about as fresh as a tomato picked right from the vine, then this is your ticket! You can see that I’m using buffalo burrata because I want it to ‘ooooooze’ all that goodness and goodliness. And, I chose the thin bread because I don’t want bread to overwhelm the palate!
Caprese 8: This caprese inspired ‘Mediterranean’ Simple Salad incorporates the caprese basics, plus you’ve got a healthy serving of beautiful greens of all types and colors! Each person can build his/her salad with what they like. And, on the side I have small bowls of additional toppings, nuts, olives, peperoncini, onions, and more!