Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Insalata Caprese was the inspiration for this dish but this is not really a faithful recreation.  I rarely have a pot of basil sat on my shelf, (hugging it in wistful melancholy or otherwise.*)

Pesto, however, I do have, as I love tomato and pesto soup and it is great as a short cut to basil flavour with a slightly longer shelf life (try stirring it into pasta sauces for depth).  Or perhaps I don't possess Isabella's green fingers for keeping basil plants alive (or interesting fertilising techniques).

Insalata Caprese

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad - serves 1 as a main course, 2 as a side salad


3 small to medium sized tomatoes
1 ball of mozzarella, approx 100-125g, about 4oz
1 tsp pesto (use vegetarian if a veggie)
1 tsp wine vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle if liked
a large pinch of coarse sea salt


Allow the tomatoes to warm to room temperature if possible.  Only make this if tomatoes are lovely and ripe, this isn't a winter dish but is great with summer or early autumn tomatoes with the perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of acidity.


Slice the tomatoes and tear up the mozzarella.  This is me being a pedant.  I hate sliced mozzarella, it reminds me of processed cheese.  Torn, it breaks into wonderful tasty shards of milky goodness.

Whisk together the pesto, vinegar and olive oil.  Sprinkle over the tomato and cheese and scatter with crystals of salt and an extra drizzle of vibrant grassy extra virgin olive oil if liked.

Tomato and mozzarella salad

*Sorry, as a fan of Holman Hunt, I can't think of pots of basil, without thinking of this painting even if it has macabre undertones.

Isabella and the Pot of Basil

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