Classic Caprese is a summertime staple with its juicy fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, spicy basil, and dressed with fruity olive oil and aged balsamic. My family can never get enough of it while Indiana tomatoes are in season and basil is growing in my garden.
My Caprese Salad
from the Bastianelli Kitchen
- 2 lbs. mixed heirloom tomatoes or any ripe tomatoes including cherry/grape
- 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar glaze or reduction
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, plum tomatoes into wedges. Small tomatoes in half.
- Slice or tear mozzarella into small pieces.
- Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on a platter.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll basil leaves length-wide and chiffonade into ribbons
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze/reduction. Top with basil and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Cook’s Note: I keep balsamic glaze on hand for this, but it’s easy to simmer balsamic vinegar until it reduces to a thicker syrupy texture. A little goes a long way.
We all love the traditional Caprese, but why not try some of these sweet fruity variations to liven up your summer dining experience. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and peaches are all in season now too!
Cantaloupe Caprese with Prosciutto
- 1/2 cantaloupe melon, seeded
- 8 ounces fresh Mozzarella diced or torn
- 2 cups arugula
- 8 slices prosciutto (or capicola or thin sliced salami)
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. red onions sliced
- Use a melon baller to scoop the fresh melon. Place the melon balls in a large bowl. Add the Mozzarella and sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Place the melon and Mozzarella mixture on a bed of fresh arugula. Top with torn pieces of prosciutto and sliced red onions. Enjoy immediately! Makes 4 servings.
Cook’s Note: You can also use capicola or your favorite thin-sliced salami instead of prosciutto. You could even do bacon crumbles.
Honey Grilled Watermelon Caprese
- 2 large, round watermelon slices, each cut into 4 triangles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
- 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut in half or sliced
- a bunch of fresh basil leaves
- balsamic glaze for drizzling
- Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush both sides of each watermelon triangle with olive oil and season all sides with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of honey over each triangle and place them on the grill, grilling each side for about 2 minutes. Remove and add a little more honey if desired.
- Assemble salads by placing 2 watermelon triangles on each plate, then cover with a sprinkle of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. Add some salt and pepper on top, then drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve!
Cook’s Note: You could do this same method with halved peaches or cantaloupe slices. Just sayin’.
Peach Caprese Salad
- 6oz ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/2″ thick
- 1 ripe peach, sliced 1/2″ thick
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced 1/2″ thick
- 12 leaves fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar reduction
- salt and pepper
Layer mozzarella cheese slices with peaches, tomatoes, and basil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Makes 2 servings.
Cook’s Note: You can easily add blueberries and/or blackberries to this one. They go beautifully with the peaches and tomatoes.