what’s cooking wednesday:
caprese salad

Home of What\'s Cooking WednesdayWell, Mom is safely back at home. We’ve only spoken on the phone a handful of times (OK, closer to two handfuls) since she left on Monday morning, so I’d say we’re dealing with the withdrawal symptoms well, wouldn’t you?

So as I try to beat the heat (it is HOT!) and rejoin real life, including full-time work again (I cut back to part-time while Mom was here), I’m feeling a bit lazy around the kitchen.

But lazy doesn’t have to mean “bad for the tastebuds” when tomatoes and basil are in season!

I’ll tell you, if we’re not having Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil or homemade Pesto alla Genovese, we’re having a Caprese Salad or Insalata Caprese if you want to be fancy. Or, you know, Italian.

Many of you know this one, but since it is absolutely one of my favorite summer treats, here it is for this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday:

Caprese salad on Flickr

You’ll need:

  • Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil in the *best* qualities you can find
  • Salt to taste

You can arrange this salad any way you like, but I usually do slices of tomatoes alternating with slices of mozzarella on a serving plate. Then I tear up the basil leaves and drizzle olive oil on top and finish with a sprinkling of salt.

The quantities of everything are up to you and your tastes, as is the decision on whether to “dress up” this simple salad with other treats like black olives or balsamic vinegar.

So who’s up for a refreshing, easy-to-prepare, delicious summer salad with the colors of the Italian flag?

And more importantly, who’s bringing the crusty Italian bread to sop up all those juices left on the plate?

Buon appetito!

25 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday:
caprese salad”
  1. This is one of my favorite salads. So easy, yummy and pretty!!

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Fellini under the stars at Villa Medici, Chris & Don. A Love Story and the new Bond trailer.

    Can’t beat it in the summer, Ragazza πŸ™‚

  2. 07.09.2008

    Mmmm, there’s nothing better in the summer. Italians are the best at putting simple ingredients
    together to make an unforgettable dish.

    milanesemasala’s last blog post..Itanglish Korner

    So true. Simplicity is often so overwhelmingly good πŸ™‚

  3. Joanne at frutto della passione

    That picture is gorgeous. We eat this all summer at my house, I even take it on picnics.

    Joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Name that cocktail

    Great idea Joanne…can I come on the next one? πŸ˜‰

  4. 07.09.2008

    This is one of my favorite summer salads! Alas, we lack the tomatoes. Sigh. Soon. Very, very soon, I hope.

    annoa2’s last blog post..The Lazy Days of Summer

    Oh I do hope you get some tomatoes soon! It’s nearly mid-July!

  5. 07.09.2008

    Can’t beat a salad on a hot summer day, as I blogged about two days ago.

    running42k’s last blog post..Double rainbow

    Completely agreed πŸ™‚

  6. So glad you had a great time with your mom! And the salad looks so good…I have to find some good mozz here b/c I’ve been craving this!

    erin :: the olive notes’s last blog post..independence weekend

    Get on that search Erin! It’s time for Caprese!

  7. 07.09.2008

    Mozzarella di bufala is one of my favorite foods… although it’s hard to find a good quality bufala here in the States (Costco started carrying a pretty good one if anyone is looking for it…. good for here that is:) Your Caprese looks delicious Michele…. fresh, fresh, fresh!

    Thanks Joe! Hope you find some passable mozzarella di bufula ASAP πŸ™‚

  8. 07.09.2008

    we are talking!
    my most favorite summer lunch
    when in your country
    or mine.

    {{ the VERY reason i grow tons of basil }}


    over here there is a scare about tomatoes carrying disease.
    everyone in the south is afraid to buy them at the market
    and the tomato farmers are going broke.

    thank goodness we grow our own
    or what to do!

    i love reading your recipes but the ones like this
    with 3 items + salt & pepper = i am in the kitchen with you, missy!

    too hot to cook but *good* mozzarella calls my name.

    somepinkflowers’s last blog post..tourist tuesday and kay larkin airport

    I’m very relieved to know you’re still supplied with tomatoes; now I see that maybe the salmonella didn’t even come from tomatoes after all. Looks like the FDA and CDC may have lots of ‘splainin to do….

    Pleased to have you in the kitchen my dear πŸ™‚

  9. 07.09.2008

    As we all know, fancy = Italian (a least when it comes to language).

    Great salad, lovely picture, I can’t wait to make one. Going up to Philly today, so a trip to the Italian Market is definitely in order. It’s so weird now that it’s cleaned up and not all stenchy.


    Paolaccio’s last blog post..Mile 2,518: taking it Big Easy

    Aw, I don’t know if I’d like it stenchless…can’t wait for the report. And photos!

  10. 07.09.2008

    Yum! I was just thinking the other day that it was caprese season again! Next year I really need to try growing my own tomatoes and basil. This year I’ll have to settle for the grocery store as per usual.

    Stefanie’s last blog post..Live blogging my water heater repair

    Hey so long as you get your Caprese, I’m in favor πŸ™‚

  11. 07.09.2008

    They’ve just started restocking tomatoes here, which is great because I LOVE Caprese salad! And the Roma tomatoes are my favorite. πŸ™‚ Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time with your mom. My mom lives only an hour away, yet we still manage to chat for nearly an hour just about every day on the phone. Gotta love our moms!

    Christina Arbini’s last blog post..A Bluetooth Is Not Something You Get From Eating Blueberries

    Moms are the best! What *do* we have to talk about all the time? Too fun πŸ™‚ And woohoo on the tomatoes’ return!

  12. 07.09.2008

    You know I am the only one in my family who does not like raw tomatoes…how crazy is that. I simply cannot acquire a taste for them. It is too bad, because there are so many wonderful recipes and dishes with tomatoes in them. Case in point, you recipe today. I do however like anything with cooked tomatoes…thank God!

    thotlady’s last blog post..Birthday’s

    Why, I’m (nearly) speechless! Actually my best friend growing up didn’t like raw tomatoes either; it’s a wonder we ever became friends πŸ˜‰

  13. 07.09.2008

    I stopped to get some mozzarella on my way home last night because I’ve been craving this salad for days! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight. πŸ™‚

    Ami’s last blog post..Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged

    Buon appetito Ami πŸ™‚

  14. 07.09.2008

    Oh my gosh – this is my FAVORITE salad! I totally live on it during the summer. I have had a tomato everyday for the past 2 wks. hehe Currently, I am out of good (well sort of good) mozzarella so have been combing the tomato with cottage cheese. I love all the juice mixed with olive oil and salt at the end. hehe give me a good piece of bread and I am good.

    off to make me one for lunch… lol

    stacy’s last blog post..Following the crowd

    I’m a sucker for the juice at the end too…yum πŸ™‚

  15. 07.09.2008

    Well, I’ll bring the bread AND some chilled Pinot Grigio too πŸ™‚

    I love this salad. One of my fav’s…I occasionally splash a little balsamic on for good measure…but only a little- I don’t want to overwhelm the other delicious flavors.

    And what…no pic’s of you and the mamma?

    My MΓ©lange’s last blog post..Just back from…..

    All in due time Robin πŸ™‚

  16. 07.09.2008

    Insalata Caprese is one of my absolute and I mean ABSOLUTE favorites OF ALL TIME!! Love love love it! I fell in love with it over 20 years ago when I lived in Italy and just darn near salivate thinking about it! πŸ™‚

    Dory’s last blog post..StickY KeYs

    I hear you Dory. I don’t know what I ever did without insalata caprese!

  17. 07.09.2008

    This is exactly what we had for dinner last night! I just love caprese salad! I know this isn’t authentic, but I do dribble a little balsamic vinegar and fresh cracked pepper on my caprese, as well.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday: Power Muffins

    Sounds great to me Jen πŸ™‚

  18. 07.09.2008

    Sorry to hear that your time with your mom is over.

    Caprese salad is one of my all time favorites and I order it practically every day when in Italy. I don’t seem to find the quality of tomatoes here to be able to enjoy it. Huge bummer. This is definitely a dish that if it’s not the freshest of fresh it’s just better not to make at all.

    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog post..what’s cooking wednesday – southwestern chicken caesar salad

    Unfortunately I have to agree with you there; if the ingredients aren’t fabulous on their own, this one really isn’t going to go very well πŸ™

  19. 07.09.2008

    I could do this one with probably no hassle or problem! Woo Hoo!
    It looks so good. ;o)

    You could bring the bread over here… *grin*

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..In Thoughts Of You

    OK, bread’s coming with me then πŸ™‚

  20. 07.10.2008

    This is one of my favorite salads! It’s perfect summertime food and always looks so tasty. Besides, anything that is this easy to make definitely gets bonus points in my book πŸ˜‰

    Rebecca’s last blog post..29 and holding

    I’m so with you there Rebecca, especially in summertime πŸ™‚

  21. 07.10.2008

    Hmmmm….I want that for dinner tonight…time to get some Mozzarella!

    Lucia’s last blog post..The Butcher’s Freezer Door

    Buon appetito Lucia!

  22. 07.16.2008

    We get wonderful tomatoes from Plaquemines Parish, which is just south of New Orleans. Fortunately, they have not been caught up in the tomato ban.

    Louise’s last blog post..Delicious Deviled Egg Recipes from Paula Dean

    Lucky indeed! As it’s turning out, not many actual tomatoes *have* been identified in the salmonella scare πŸ™

  23. 07.17.2008

    Our tomatoes won’t ripen until next month but I’m looking forward to making lots of caprese salads. Hopefully our basil won’t all bolt and die off by then.

    What is the best olive oil to use?

    Nate’s last blog post..Lichee – It’s (in) My Cup of Tea…PLUS Free Giveaway

    Hi Nate, this is going to sound like a cop out, but I honestly don’t know what the best brand of olive oil would be as we only use local oil here, but generally extra virgin is what you’re looking for. I seem to recall liking Carapelli and Bertolli when I was in the States….

    I sure hope your basil makes it too!

  24. Deborah

    I made up a version of this last week… I took:
    arugula, tiny grape tomatoes cut in halves, mini buffalo mozzarella balls (Target πŸ™‚ ,olive oil, Balsamic vinegar,basil leaves and oregano, all tossed into a salad and rolled the salad into a low-carbohydrate tortilla as a Caprese wrap and loving it all week! We are on the same TASTE path! YUM!

    Sounds delish!

  1. [...] So does that mean that I marked the occasion with a triumphant return to the kitchen after weeks of cold... bleedingespresso.com/2008/07/whats-cooking-wednesday-fried-eggs-with-red-onion-and-cheese.html
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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