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Caprese Salad: Tasty Memories from the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Updated on May 5, 2014
Homemade Caprese Salad
Homemade Caprese Salad | Source

Taste of Italy

There are few moments of knock-your-socks-off experience that elevate your wonder and sense of taste and aliveness. And odd though it may sound, eating my very first Caprese Salad was one of these.

Imagine having spent a week touring the glories of Italy from Rome to Venice to Florence around to Pisa and down to Naples. You have just taken a drive along the famous and glorious Amalfi coast and now from your restaurant table you are gazing languidly at the Mediterranean Sea. You are in love in several of the ways there are to be in love. You are enjoying the intimacy of your fellow traveler, your sister, and life is good.

The waiter brings a rather ordinary looking dish for each of you, roughly cut greenish red tomatoes, small chunks of soft mozzarella cheese, and little green slivers of leaves which (you figure out) are basil. It is explained to you offhandedly as the waiter passes by that the tomatoes and basil are grown nearby and the mozzarella is from down the road, freshly made.

Ah, Giada...nobody does Italian better!

The Taste

Deep in conversation, you take a bite. Silence. It is unbelievably delicious, defying beyond reason its not particularly appetizing appearance. Drizzled with olive oil, splashed with balsamic. You never fully recover.

Although that quality is hard to match, a modest attempt is still deliciously attainable.

We had a bumper crop of fine plump red and juicy Beefeater, Brandywine and Early Girl heirloom tomatoes this year, and our basil grew tall and leafy green. We bought the soft ball of mozzarella from our local grocer. We always keep olive oil and good balsamic vinegar on hand. That’s all you need.

So delicious.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with the best ripe and juicy tomatoes you can find. Some people like them skinned. Shown with basil. Mozzarella added.Splash with balsamic and olive oil.
Start with the best ripe and juicy tomatoes you can find.
Start with the best ripe and juicy tomatoes you can find. | Source
Some people like them skinned. Shown with basil.
Some people like them skinned. Shown with basil. | Source
Mozzarella added.
Mozzarella added. | Source
Splash with balsamic and olive oil.
Splash with balsamic and olive oil. | Source

Please Rate Me!

4.7 stars from 3 ratings of Caprese Salad


  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Ripe Tomatoes
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Easy Steps

  1. Select ripe and juicy tomatoes, about one per person. Wash and skin (optional) by submersing in boiling water for about 10 seconds, then quickly removing with a slotted spoon and plunging in an ice water bath. Make a small cut only through the skin to get an edge. It will easily peel right off. Slice and layer on your serving plate.
  2. Make slices or slivers from the ball of mozzarella cheese with a sharp knife or wire cheese cutter and arrange on the tomato slices.
  3. Wash desired amount of basil leaves and tear, shred with a knife, or place whole around the tomatoes and cheese.
  4. Drizzle with a fine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt (optional) and black pepper (optional).
  5. Enjoy!


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    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      My favorite non-lettuce salad. Love these and eat a fair share especially during the summer.

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice hub.

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Mary Cay, how delightful to see your comment on my HubPages article!

      There's no question that most food preparation is just plain a lot of work! So it's nice to have an easy one that is so delicious. The key to this recipe, though, is fresh fresh fresh ingredients, garden grown tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella. But I have to admit, I've tried, and the tomatoes and cheese, especially the cheese, can't even come close to what we had in Italy. Of course, the view on the Amalfi coast didn't hurt, either.

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      I do love simple and delicious together the best. I think I'd like to try this salad with goat's milk, too. Can you make a mozzarella cheese with goat's milk? I was just reading how the healthy Centenarians on a certain Greek Island eat only goat's milk.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      Mary Cay Dietz 5 years ago

      Joy - I'm just catching up on emails after being away. The photo is luscious! I loved your descriptions and determined to make this gorgeous salad - even though I rarely get excited about food preparation.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Simple, but looks fabulous! I would have replace the cow's milk cheese with goat's milk, but that's no problem, especially since I couldn't get the fresh cheese made on the Amalfi Coast. :) Sounds like a lovely trip, btw.

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      No question...fresh is best! You can enjoy the rewards of your labor through the coming months. Thanks for the comment, Annis.

    • profile image

      Annis 5 years ago

      It was easy for me to taste the salad you describe because I've spent two days making basil oil, basil pesto, and basil salt! fresh is best, don't you think!

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Hmmm buffalo mozzarella, how interesting. That cheese in Italy was certainly melt in your mouth more delicious than anything I've found here. However, how much was just from the food and how much was from the place, hard to separate.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Sometimes simple dishes made with fresh ingredients are the most delicious! I can tell by the photo your homegrown tomatoes were fabulous. I wish I could eat some right now. : ) I really enjoyed your introductory story, too. I wonder if the cheese you had in Amalfi was buffalo mozzarella? It's common in Italy and practically melts in the mouth. Great recipe hub. Voted up!

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      It's so fun to share with the likes of you all who are so appreciate of delicious food. Thank you for your comments! Bon appetit!

    • profile image

      Lynn Arbor 5 years ago

      Joy, your description — your writing — causes the mouth to water. This is one delicious piece. Beautiful photography too.

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London

      This is one of my favourite salads. Thanks for the recipe, it's nice to know how to make it properly!

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I love Caprese Salad. Great recipe!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great recipe! And as you say, great memories of the Amalfi coast. I like your writing style. Your photos are gorgeous. Voted up and shared.