Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Caprese Salad

For my Caprese salad, or Insalata Caprese, I wanted to stick with traditional flavors but enhance them and tweek the presentation to match my more modern, but still rustic, approach.

I pulled inspiration from my days as a sushi chef and line the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella in a diagonal line across the plate, I then add a pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and top with a thick chiffonade of basil, you can just tear your basil by hand if you like. In addition to olive oil I like a nice drizzle of balsamic reduction. Balsamic vinegar alone is too watery and acidic, unless you buy the expensive stuff, but you can enhance the flavor of the cheap stuff by very slowly reducing on a low flame (this will stink up the kitchen) and then whisk in a bit of sugar off the heat to finish.

This is a great dish to start an Italian meal with, or to have as a main course with a bit of crusty bread. Quality of ingredients is key; make sure to have perfectly ripe tomatoes and flavorful mozzarella, some brands are definitely superior to others...

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