The Zamzows Table: Caprese Salad
There are few things I can think of that create the fresh taste of eating a Caprese salad. The flavor combination of mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar harmoniously combines into the freshest taste imaginable. To create something so spectacular with only a few ingredients seems unimaginable. A Caprese salad is so simple to create, and adding homegrown ingredients, elevates it to something truly spectacular.
12 oz. Mozzarella - When possible, I look for pre-sliced mozzarella from our local cheese producer Lactalis. Using this makes assembly a breeze.
1-2 of your homegrown tomatoes - The number of tomatoes needed will depend on the size. There is no wrong tomato to use. I prefer to use a Roma as they are very meaty. But you should feel free to use what you have and experiment.
Fresh Basil - My family loves basil, so you should feel free to adjust the amount of basil you use based on your taste and how much you have. I would recommend starting with leaves from three to four sprigs.
2 TBS to 2 Cups Balsamic Vinegar - The variance in amounts here will depend on how you want to use the balsamic vinegar. You can drizzle 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over your salad or you can reduce it to a thicker glaze.
Coarse Kosher Salt - to taste
Optional: Sometimes I like to add some finely chopped garlic.
Balsamic Glaze Option
Add two cups of Balsamic Vinegar to a saucepan and bring to a boil at medium-high heat. Continue to boil for 20 to 30 minutes until it has reduced to a thick glaze. Set aside and allow to cool. Unused glaze can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Wash and slice your chosen tomatoes. I prefer to slice at about 1/4 inch thickness. If you're using a large tomato, I would recommend, cutting the slice in half. You want the tomato to sit nicely over the mozzarella.
- Remove basil leaves from the stems. You can chop the basil into smaller pieces. However, you can also add full leaves to each piece.
- If adding garlic, finely chop two to three cloves.
- Assemble your salad by laying a slice of mozzarella, then a slice of tomato on top of the mozzarella. Top with a leaf of basil, if you are using full leaves. Then add another slice of mozzarella so that it is slightly over the first piece, then add another tomato. Continue arranging until you have used all your mozzarella and tomatoes.
- Once arranged, top with chopped basil and garlic, if using these options.
- Sprinkle coarse Kosher salt over the top.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar or glaze evenly over the entire salad.
Presentation is part of the fun of this salad, and you should feel free to try arrangements you find appealing. I prefer to arrange the salad in a circular pattern on a large plate starting on the outside and working in towards the center. At our house, we enjoy adding our full plate of Caprese salad to the table and sharing it as we eat our meal. I like to include a Caprese salad with several meals, our current favorite is a fettuccini pesto with shrimp.
We would love to see your creations and how you've enjoyed making your own Caprese salad. What tomatoes have you used? Are there any ways you have modified this classic dish? Share them with us on Instagram.