Caprese Salad

How gorgeous is this? Who knew that my sister the OBS Housekeeper could make something so delicious and yet so casually arranged? Note that the mozzarella slices are not exactly the same size, and that the basil is scattered rather, shall we say, capriciously, and yet, there is a symmetry to the dish that pleases the eye. And of course the palate.

Did you know the OBS Housekeeper made this recipe up all by her little old self? Who knew she was so talented? I’m just a little verklempt here, give me a second….

Okay, now I’m fine. OBS wanted me to be sure I told you about the history of the Caprese Salad, which, in case you haven’t noticed, contains the colors of the Italian flag.

The History of the Caprese Salad

The Caprese Salad, or Inslata Caprese as we Italian affectionados call it, originated from the Isle of Capri in the Campagna region of Italy in the 1950’s. The traditonal Insalata Caprese uses cow’s milk mozzarella, tomatoes, and olive oil garnished with oregano and arugula. Elsewhere in Italy, basil is used as the garnish.

Tradition dictates that only olive oil be used in the Caprese Salad, but here in America, what do we care about tradition? We love balsamic vinegar, and so we use it.

OBS Housekeeper thinks I’m nuts, but I think the Caprese Salad was really invented as a homage to the big rocks of the Isle of Capri. They remind me of big mozarella slices. See?

The basil is the green stuff growing on the rocks. If you zoom in you can see it there on the big rock on the left.

Now, all that is missing are the tomatoes…

And there you have it! Thanks, OBS, for a delicious salad.

OBS Housekeeper’s Caprese Salad

2 – 3 large tomatoes
16 oz. fresh mozzarella
Lots of chopped fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Use an apple corer to core the tomatoes. Slice them about ¼ inch thick. Drizzle olive oil over slices and set aside. Slice the mozzarella into slices about ¼” thick.. Layer the slices alternately on a plate or in a low dish. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over top. Sprinkle lots of fresh chopped basil over all. Salt and Pepper entire dish. ENJOY!

11 Responses to Caprese Salad

  1. I make a version of this as well. My nana and italian aunts taught me the trick to rustic italian food is in the texture of it all.

    Mangia tutti!

  2. OBS is my sister, and we are going to do something just as incredible tonight at her place, yet we are not even going to cook. The Italians did it for us. I Finally found the white achovies I have been looking for for over a week aat over a dozen (and by a dozen, I mean 7) stores. Read TBTAM’s next post to find out what happended (or should I say, what errupted, like Mt. Vesuvious…).

    Little Bro JOe

  3. Well I’ve made this for years but lately I’ve simplified it by using mini bocconcini with cherry tomatoes, both cut in half if you like. If I want to make a nice display I do it the old fashioned way.

  4. I LOVE this salad — fresh tomatoes are now available at our farmers market, and we’ve got basil growing in the back yard…yes, balsamic vinegar is a must! YUM!

  5. Great photos!

    I have to admit, mon mari loves the Balsamic, but I’m a purist – just the olive oil and basil… I might try some oregano, though, that could be good…
    Nope, just the basil….

  6. Maria 🙂


    This is truly one of my favorite summer dishes, enough some nights for a meal (Especially with some ears of corn on the side). Love to hear all the variations.

  7. I went to Ristorante Celeste on the UWS last night and had a decent Caprese. I aksed the Maitre why there was no Balsamic, and he looked at me scornfully and said "We don't do that in Italy" !

    I personally think you need the BV unless your tomatoes are topnotch and ripe, and do not have the acid bred out of them.

    Any thoughts?

  8. Anonymous –
    I actually like the vinegarless version, provided I have a salt shaker and pepper grinder on hand. But I agree, if the tomatoes aren;t great, add the vinegar, or order the mesclun salad.

    Thanks for reading.

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