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Caprese Salad – A modern take on a classic summer salad

It’s the hottest summer on record since people have kept track of these things. AC units are struggling, and I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is fire up my stove to cook a meal. Weather like this is the perfect excuse for a delicious Caprese salad.

There’s nothing complex about a Caprese salad. It’s honestly one of the simplest things you’ll ever make. It’s just tomatoes, Mozzarella, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. (No, no balsamic vinegar!) But there is a caveat here… They have to be absolutely the best ingredients you can find.

No joking here guys. This dish screams for quality ingredients. And while you could make this salad with supermarket beefsteak tomatoes and some Mozzarella in a block, you’d be disappointed.

This is the perfect excuse to use some heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, or better yet, pick your own. But if you can’t get those, definitely get yourself tomatoes that are still on the vine.

Make sure to use the best Mozzarella available wherever you are. (I know that part can be difficult. We live in rural Arkansas right now, so we just did the best we could.) The olive oil should be high-quality Extra Virgin, and the basil absolutely has to be fresh. After that, just coarse salt and freshly ground pepper are all you need.

So let’s make the perfect Caprese salad!

As I said before, get yourself the freshest tomatoes you can find. We got these lovely tomatoes on the vine at The Big Scary Discount Mart, and they worked perfectly.

Tomatoes on the vine

And for the rest of the salad, we’ve got our water-packed Mozzarella, fresh basil, black pepper, sea salt (from the dollar store, because salt is salt, y’all), and good quality olive oil.

All the components for a perfect Caprese salad.

Make sure your basil is gorgeous, fresh and green. This is what brings 90% of the love to the party, so pick it right off the plant if possible.

Freshly picked basil leaves

We used a variety of tomatoes in this Caprese salad for added flavor, color, and texture. This is completely optional, but I think it makes the presentation more fun.

Fresh tomatoes, basil, and Mozzarella cheese for a Caprese salad

First, cut your tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. I cut mine into different sized chunks, just because it makes the plate more interesting.

Tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces

Then cut the grape tomatoes. Again, I cut some differently, just to keep things visually appealing. But just cutting them in half is fine. You want them to get to know the olive oil and the seasonings!

Grape tomatoes cut in half

Now, just lay your tomatoes out on a plate. I like to arrange them so that they cover the whole thing, but hey, it’s your salad, arrange them however you want!

Sliced tomatoes arranged on a plate

Now grab that Mozzarella and tear little chunks off of it. Scatter those around the plate. And don’t skimp on the cheese. You want a little in every bite.

Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese on a plate

Give your tomatoes and cheese a generous dousing of a good extra virgin olive oil. For this kind of thing, my personal go-to is California Olive Ranch Everyday (not sponsored), but any good oil will do. (Yes, it needs to be olive oil!)

Tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, and olive oil

Hit your tomatoes, cheese, and olive oil with a good helping of coarse salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Again, don’t skimp. You want to be able to see those condiments. Besides, salt makes a tomato taste more like a tomato.

Really. It does.

Seasoned tomatoes and cheese on a plate.

And for the final step in this insanely simple salad, just grab a few of those basil leaves, tear them up, and sprinkle them all over the place. don’t be fancy. Just toss ’em on there.

Completed Caprese salad

And that’s it, guys! You’ve just made the perfect hot weather meal. Or, if you prefer, side dish. (Seriously, this would go great with some grilled Cornish hens, a good Italian sausage, or maybe even some beer brats.)

But whether you serve this as a side dish or just eat it as a meal, it’s perfect for summer, and a great way to get your family or friends around the table.

Caprese Salad
Yield: 4 people

Caprese Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

The Caprese salad is a classic summertime dish. Perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and sweet basil, all drizzled in olive oil and kissed with seasonings. This is the perfect warm weather meal.

Ingredients

  • 6 tomatoes, medium to large
  • 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin
  • 10 basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Slice tomatoes into bite-size pieces and arrange equally on individual plates or on a serving platter.
  2. Tear the mozzarella into chunks and scatter over tomatoes. drizzle with olive oil until well covered. Season well with salt and pepper. (Adjust as needed for both amounts.)
  3. Tear basil into small pieces and sprinkle over tomatoes and cheese.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

4 people

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302

And that’s it, guys. The Caprese salad. Surprisingly simple, yet sublimely delicious. If you love a simple and delicious meal on a hot summer evening, you can’t do better than this!

What I would have done differently:

Not a freaking thing. Classic recipes are classics for a reason. Sure, I could change this up a hundred ways and still make something really, really good, but I’m not sure it would be a Caprese salad any more at that point.

Or as they say: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What are your thoughts?

So what are your opinions, guys? Is this perfect the way it is, or can you think of something you must add to the recipe for your family table?

Either way, we’d love to hear your opinions. So please feel free to leave a comment below. And if you try this recipe, be sure to rate it! The recipe ratings help us decide what we’ve done right so we know what to make next.

Also, be sure to check us out on all the social sites. Just do a quick search for UncleJerrysKitchen or click on the social media icons at the top of the site. You’ll find us there.

Love Y’all, and until next time,

Food is love. Share and Enjoy!

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