We call it the Leaning tower of Caprese
Caprese salads can be made in many ways. Manipulations of the three key ingredients (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil) will result in different varieties of the salad – all being delicious. Here is my favourite version of the Caprese – it’s not really a leaning tower so much as one that has fallen over. Read the recipe and try your own take on it by changing its geometry or adding your own secret ingredients.
- Tomatoes – I prefer the Kumata brand with roughly 4-5 small sized tomatoes
- Mozzarella – A large ball of fresh fior di latte or buffalo mozzarella
- Basil – Buy it fresh and with full leaves
- Olive oil – I like Italian or Greek olive oil that has a slight burning sensation when you taste a teaspoon of it
- Salt & Pepper
- Wash and dry the tomatoes and basil. If the basil leaves are still on the stem, remove and discard the stems. Tear the leaves into small pieces.
- Pour out the brine solution in the mozzarella packaging.
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella in about equal sized pieces. Cut one more tomato slice than mozzarella. This will make sure that you have two tomato ends to help hold the shape together.
- Alternate tomato and mozzarella slices in a row. Use the tomatoes for structural integrity and position the end pieces to steady the whole salad.
- Sprinkle the basil leaves on top of the row. For me, it’s the more basil, the better.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
We also like to drizzle the salad with a bit of good balsamic vinegar.
For a hot version, I created a twist on a recipe I enjoyed at Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza restaurant in Los Angeles. Roast cherry tomatoes with minced garlic, basil, olive oil and seasonings in the oven at 375 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes. Slice the mozzarella and place it on top of toasted baguette pieces. Top with the tomatoes and the cheese will melt slightly, making it the best version of bruschetta you will ever have.