In my opinion, one of the best parts about Italy is the Insalata Caprese. This lettuce-less salad (score!) originated 0n the Island of Capri off the coast of Napoli. The colors of the Italian flag are represented in the fresh red tomatoes, homegrown basil leaves and smooth mozzarella. Although there are many different renditions of this salad, (some add balsamic, some add roasted garlic) my favorite way is the traditional way: drizzled with olive oil, and topped with salt and pepper.
Serving Insalata Caprese in a bowl is always acceptable, however, how stunning to serve your guests these Torre Caprese, or Caprese Towers!? I love it when food becomes a work of art…and your guests will too!
4 medium size heirloom tomatoes
12 thick slices of Mozzarella cheese
Approximately half a cup of Basil leaves
Extra long tooth picks
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.) Depending on their size, slice tomatoes across the middle into 3-4 slices. If tomatoes are very large, you may need to leave out some of the slices when building your towers.
2.) Alternate layering basil, mozzarella and tomato slices until tomato resembles original shape. Replace the top and anchor tower with 1-2 toothpicks.
3.) Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
-ciao for now-
photo credit: Patrizia Montanari