Caprese salad is a delicious tomato salad and it couldn't be easier to make. Like all simple dishes, the quality of the ingredients really shines, so be sure to use the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes you can find, absolutely super fresh, creamy, beautiful mozzarella, and fragrant sparkling green basil in this caprese salad recipe. This recipe is endlessly flexible - the amounts below are more guidelines than anything. Feel free to pay with the proportions or add other elements to suit your taste.
- 6 medium very ripe tomatoes
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 6 large basil leaves
- 4 Tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, preferable good quality sea salt (optional)
- Core out the stem end of the tomatoes, removing any white-ish flesh near the stem, by inserting a paring knife at a 45-degree angle near the stem, rotating the tomato around the blade, and removing (and discarding) the bit of core.
- Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices (a sharp knife will help make smooth and even slices).
- Cut the mozzarella into similarly 1/4-inch slices. More important than the exact thickness of the tomatoes and the mozzarella, is that they are all evenly sliced. The balance between the bright tomatoes and creamy mozzarella is the key to the appeal of this simple creation.
- Layer the tomato and mozzarella slices on a serving platter or on four individual salad plates. You can layer them quite literally, just on top of one another, or fan them out more, which is what I prefer, so every layer gets a hit of the basil and the olive oil that are to come.
- Drizzle the salad(s) with olive oil and them sprinkle them with salt to taste, if you like. Lots of people prefer Caprese salad un-salted, but to my taste buds, even the best tomatoes benefit from a little hit of sodium.
- You can leave the basil leaves whole, tear them by hand into smaller pieces, or cut them into ribbons. For the elegant ribbon-like effect, layer the basil leaves one on top of the other, roll them up lengthwise, and use a sharp knife to cut the roll into very thin slices. Ribbons of fresh basil will result. (For details, see how to cut fresh basil leaves into beautifully thin ribbons.)
- Sprinkle the basil over the salad(s). Serve immediately.
Want to make these ahead? They will suffer. You can cut the mozzarella ahead of time, but this salad is so quick to come together, I can't recommend the last-minute approach strongly enough (and I'm a make-ahead girl whenever possible!).