Insalata Caprese

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Like proscuitto and melon, the marriage of a ripe tomato, bufala mozzarella and fresh basil, the insalata caprese, is a match made in heaven. And right now, today, in Umbria, with tomatoes and basil from our orto, it is the time and the place to be eating a caprese salad.

Insalata Caprese Like proscuitto and melon, the marriage of a ripe tomato, bufala mozzarella and fresh basil, the insalata caprese, is a match made in heaven. And right now, today, in Umbria, with tomatoes and basil from our orto, it is the time and the place to be eating a caprese salad. This salad is a fundamental example of why you eat something in season and no other time.

This famous salad allegedly came from the island of Capri, which I think might be a little sketchy because water buffalos and rocky islands usually don’t coexist.  However, some of the world’s best bufala mozzarella is made in the Campania region of Italy, around Naples, so there is probably a bit of truth to this legend.

The purist version of the salad is tomato, mozarella, basil, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. If your tomatoes are good enough, that is all you need. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a little variation: a drizzle of balsamic vinegar is tasty, playing up the sweetness of the tomato, or a sprinkle of fragrant oregano is nothing short of….addictive.  Where I have a little problem is the classic presentation: slabs of tomato and slabs of mozzarella. I get it, you cut it all up, but then you have to coordinate the amount of available basil with making sure that you get just the right amount of cheese to tomato ratio. So stressful. Therefore, I hereby propose that we unite and change the presentation of Insalata Caprese to now be little chunks of mozarella, with the same size chunks of tomato, and lots of shredded basil. This way every bite gets a balanced mix of flavor and texture and no one has to worry about running out of a key ingredient. I have similar stress eating a cheeseburger. You know when you have too much bun and you are eating nothing but grease flavored bread? So unfulfilling.

Our garden is producing like crazy, so it’s tomatoes at every meal!

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