Caprese is a classic Italian starter. In Italy it is traditonally eaten in summer whereas outside of Italy, it is eaten all year round, even in cold weather.
500g Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, drained and at room temperature
4 ripe vine tomatoes, sliced and at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 leaves of fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Decent Italian bread
1. Cut the mozzarella into slices or tear into pieces. Lay on a serving plate. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add these and the basil to the plate. Drizzle the dish with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with good bread.
Notes on the Caprese recipe
– Caprese is such a simple dish that you need to choose the best ingredients.
– Fresh mozzarella should feel tight and tense like a stress ball, not soft and runny (which means it is older). It should ideally be a maximum of 4 days old when you eat it, so choose one that has a best-by-date of 2+ weeks if you live outside of Italy – that means it is fresh.
– If the tomatoes are cold, drop them briefly into hot water and dry them – it will help to give them more flavour.
– You can slice or tear thee mozzarella or sculpt it into little balls with a melon scoop. Use a variety of colours of tomatoes – heirlooms are not particularly traditional but they look like a rainbow on the plate. You can also use an Irish mozzarella like Toonsbridge made in West Cork from water buffalo. You are more likely to find a fresh Irish mozzarella than an Italian one, because the cheese doesn’t have to travel too far.
– Store any leftover mozzarella in fresh cold water in the fridge. Change the water every day.