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Caprese Salad

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I didn’t know about Caprese Salad until I was an adult. Not something very common in the Portuguese household I grew up in.  We had tomatoes, sure, but basil, nah… parsley, yes, couves (kale) yes, but no basil.  And sure we had cheese, but not motzerella cheese, heck my parents even made their own white cheese in a little ring (which is totally delicious and totally off topic).  But, I digress, the point it, this is not something I was ever exposed to… however, later on… sometime in my mid-20’s I think, I experienced this salad… Yes, I said experienced, because in my opinion, it is surely not like any other salad I had ever had… And I have been making this late summer salad ever since!

It’s a simple salad, just three main ingredients.  The key to this salad is balance. The medley of flavors is something that can not be created with anything else in the world.  Freshly grown tomatoes straight from the garden, hand picked basil leaves and good quality motzerella cheese topped with a simple drizzle of olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper… could there possibly be anything better?

I have these lovely sweet cherry tomatoes. In season and perfect for any salad, but when tomatoes are the star ingredient, they are especially yummy.

I have these lovely sweet cherry tomatoes. In season and perfect for any salad, but when tomatoes are the star ingredient, they are especially yummy.

Slice them up and place them right in your serving bowl.

Slice them up and place them right in your serving bowl.

Have you seen these cute little snack packs. Each pack contains three mini cheese balls.

Have you seen these cute little snack packs. Each pack contains three mini cheese balls.

This size ball matches up perfectly to the size of the tomato.

Slice each ball in half and add to the tomatoes.

Grab some fresh basil. You want to pinch it off right where you see the next leaves sprouting. That will ensure new growth.

I like to match up the number of tomatoes to cheese and leaves… but, just a torn leaf.

Tare each leaf to equal the number of tomatoes. This will ensure each bite has all three ingredients.

Tare each leaf to equal the number of tomatoes. This will ensure each bite has all three ingredients.

Mix together in preparation for dressing.

Start the dressing by sprinkling kosher salt.

Crack some fresh cracked black pepper.

Now drizzle with extra version olive oil.

A nice aged imported balsamic vinegar is key here, so you want to buy the nicest one you can afford… You should be able to get a decent one for under $20 and it will last a while…

Drizzle the balsamic.

Toss and serve.

Toss and serve.

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I’m not sure if you noticed, but please take note, I made sure that each ingredient was exactly equal.  That is to say there are an equal number of tomato pieces to cheese pieces to basil pieces ensuring that each and every bite will incorporate all three ingredients at the same time allowing them to join together in a wonderful burst of flavor in your mouth!

Recipe for Caprese Salad:

(serves 1-4)

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

12 mini motzerella cheese balls, halved

4 fresh basil leaves, torn into thirds

1 pinch kosher salt

4 cracks black pepper

2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Toss tomatoes, cheese and basil together in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Serve.

Enjoy!

*Note: this is a gluten-free recipe.