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Caprese salad is a great main dish (lunch) or appetizer for a summer dinner. It goes best with a white wine, and is amazing when preceding a light pasta dish. When using as a main dish for lunch, double up the portions. This is a recipe that has been handed down through the generations in my family as long as anyone can remember. My grandmother (peacefully rest her soul) recalled learning this recipe from her grandmother. She also told stories of her grandmother recalling learning it from her grandmother. This is a truly old-world Italian version of this recipe. Many of the versions that people know have been Americanized or have been updated in some way. As best I can tell, this recipe is about as traditional as it gets.
- 2 tomatoes, vine ripened, and grown in earth, not hydroponically, tomatoes from your garden are best. If you can
- 1⁄2 lb mozzarella cheese, wet. Get the traditionally made water buffalo milk version, it can be found easily at any respectabl or 1⁄2 lb greek market. it is often sold skinless in water or 1⁄2 lb skinned also in water. it should jiggle when you handle it. the mozzarella should be slightly larger tomato
- 2 ounces basil leaves, fresh. The basil should be either homegrown or 2 ounces organic. no hydroponically grown basil. for the best flavor the basil needs to be soil-grown. if you basil
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese to 1/4" thick slices.
- Place tomatoes and mozzarella alternately in a pattern around the perimeter of a small serving dish. Alternatively, for single serving dishes, place the mozzarella slices on top of the tomato slices, arranging for 8 servings (arrange for four servings, if using it as a main dish).
- Sprinkle the the salad sparsely with the olive oil.
- Sprinkle the salad lightly (or to taste) with the salt and ground black pepper.
- Place whole (or torn) basil leaves on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella, using pieces that roughly match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.
- Serve immediately.
- Note: do NOT allow the tomatoes and mozzarella sit in the oil for more than a short few minutes. The oil will just soak into the tomato and mozzarella and ruin the flavor. The oil is intended to be a garnish, and not a primary flavor in the dish.