It may well be the epitome of as light spring or summer lunch but a Caprese Salad, is to me at least, a welcome counterpoint to all the excesses of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love to over indulge at this time of year just like everyone but the onslaught of chocolate, a full roast, masses of mince pies with great dollops of brandy butter, and far too many cream-rich cocktails need to be balanced with something lighter and simpler. Step forward the Caprese Salad.
A Caprese Salad is an extremely simple Italian salad. It consists of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and seasoned with salt, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was made to resemble the colours of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto.
As with all Italian foods the freshest ingredients make a heap of difference. Here the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar are from Casa Rinaldi an award winning company, founded back in the carefree days of 1979. They can be purchased from Italiaregina.it, a woman-only company based in Milan whose philosophy is to provide the world with an “unforgettable experience of Italy”.
For a decent Caprese Salad you need a damn decent wine to accompany. Any dry Italian white will do a Verdicchio, a Pinot Grigio or an Orvieto perhaps. Here though I’ve gone with a crisp and weighty, herb-tinged, Greco di Tufo (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Greco di Tufo currently down £2 to £8 a bottle).
Rinaldi (or other decent make) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Rinaldi (or other decent make) Balsamic Vinegar
This is tricky – slice tomatoes, cut mozzarella into slices or cubes. Arrange on a plate along with torn basil leaves. Drizzle over olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Serve with warmed focaccia if desired.