Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caprese Salad

Every season has dishes associated with it, like pumpkin pie in the autumn or eggnog in the winter. As we come out of summer and into the fall, we reflect on one of summer's dishes — caprese salad.

Insalata Caprese, "salad in the style of Capri" is simple, much like the summers of our youth were simple. At its core it's just tomato, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced and served raw. The presentation of the salad is the important part, and each individual unit of caprese can be devoured whole.

The tomatoes we used were garden fresh — some from my parents' garden in the suburbs, and some that we purchased at the farmers' market. Kat grows her own cherry tomatoes, and they come sweet and perfect off the vine, a natural candy that's ideal for other sorts of salad, but not quite the right size for what we were going for here.

The mozzarella cheese we used was from Trader Joe's, and it was tender and soft. The basil was from Kat's garden. The dressing was just extra virgin olive oil, also from Trader Joe's.

The tomatoes were sliced into discs, the cheese sliced atop it, then a leaf of basil was added as a crown. We arranged the entire plate ingredient by ingredient, drizzled the oil along the top, then ground sea salt and rainbow peppercorns over all. Just like that, our caprese salad was ready to eat.

What'd it taste like? Fresh. Stark. Cool. A great summer food for a great summer.

Tastes like summer.