This may be the most famous salad in Italy!
In addition, this dish is the best example of the Italian cooking principle that simplcity is complexity and “let’s let the ingredients do all the talking.”
Although the ingredients are very simple, I would like to share a little trick with you that I use to make my Caprese salad just right. In this recipe I will teach you how to make your $6.00 bottle of balsamic taste like an $80.00 dollar gourmet aged variety, and I will also teach you how to balance all of your ingredients for the perfect combination. Click to read more!
The salad originates from Capri Island (about an hour ferry from Naples) and it is also called the “island of love,” where you’ll find some of the most beautiful people on the most beautiful island. As I love traveling and I love Italy, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Capri three times so far and I enjoy it every time when I go. Other than this unique salad, Capri is also known for it’s lemon liquor called “Limoncello”, Capri sandal, and Capri pant. Lots of great things coming from such a small island.
Serves 2-3 people, appetizer size
- 3 vine-ripe tomatoes (of any variety)
- 2-3 pieces of Bocconcini cheese
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- Small handful of fresh basil
- Capers (to sprinkle)
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Eddy’s Secret Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Slice vine-ripe tomatoes, approx. 0.5 cm in thickness and arrange flat on to a serving dish (for best results, remove the tops where the vines grow in to the tomato)
- Slice pieces of bocconcini cheese, also approximately 0.5 cm thick. Both tomatoes and bocconcini are round, so you will get some pieces that are larger and some that are smaller. Place pieces on top of tomato; it is best to match up smaller pieces of tomato with smaller pieces of cheese, etc.
- Cut up fresh basil — the best technique to do this is to remove the stems of the basil and stack up each leaf of basil on top of one another and roll them all together into a tight, small roll. Use your knife to finely chop this roll and you will get nicely uniform and fluffy pieces of basil for your salad. Sprinkle on top of tomatoes & cheese…
- Dice red onions
- Sprinkle capers, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper
- Generously pour Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar
- Serve chilled. Enjoy!
*Note: You can use the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar for bread-dipping! Don’t waste it! Also, each piece should have a proper ratio of tomato, cheese, basil, capers, and onions. This is what makes for the best, most balanced salad!
Eddy’s Secret Balsamic Vinegar
The reason why expensive balsamic vinegar tastes the way it does is because it is aged like a fine wine. The vinegar is thicker (“syrupy”), tastes more concentrated, and has a remarkable combination of rich, sweet, sour, and woody flavours. There are some varieties that are aged over 75 years!
With this easy trick, you can make your own full-bodied balsamic vinegar at the fraction of the cost. While of course it is nice to have the real thing, it is not always feasible to have such expensive balsamic vinegar all of the time. For everyday use, it makes much more sense to use a more cost-efficient balsamic vinegar. The maple syrup will mimic the natural sugars that would have developed from the aging process and removes the typical sharp taste from an inexpensive balsamic vinegar.
Follow the steps below:
- 1 litre balsamic vinegar
- 200 ml maple syrup
- Pour balsamic vinegar and maple syrup into a pot and reduce under high heat to 1/2 the amount
- The mixture will start to form large bubbles — this is a sign that it is ready
- Let this solution cool off, and store in a bottle
- Set aside for about two weeks before use
Enjoy with breads, salads, and more!