Traditional Caprese Salad

"Caprese salad is a great main dish (lunch) or appetizer for a summer dinner. It goes best with a white wine, and is amazing when preceding a light pasta dish. When using as a main dish for lunch, double up the portions. This is a recipe that has been handed down through the generations in my family as long as anyone can remember. My grandmother (peacefully rest her soul) recalled learning this recipe from her grandmother. She also told stories of her grandmother recalling learning it from her grandmother. This is a truly old-world Italian version of this recipe. Many of the versions that people know have been Americanized or have been updated in some way. As best I can tell, this recipe is about as traditional as it gets."
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  • 2 tomatoes, vine ripened, and grown in earth, not hydroponically, tomatoes from your garden are best. If you can
  • 12 1/2 lb greek market. it is often sold skinless in water or 1/2 lb skinned also in water. it should jiggle when you handle it. the mozzarella should be slightly larger tomatoes
  • 2 ounces basil leaves, fresh. The basil should be either homegrown or 2 ounces organic. no hydroponically grown basil. for the best flavor the basil needs to be soil-grown. if you basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


  • Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese to 1/4" thick slices.
  • Place tomatoes and mozzarella alternately in a pattern around the perimeter of a small serving dish. Alternatively, for single serving dishes, place the mozzarella slices on top of the tomato slices, arranging for 8 servings (arrange for four servings, if using it as a main dish).
  • Sprinkle the the salad sparsely with the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle the salad lightly (or to taste) with the salt and ground black pepper.
  • Place whole (or torn) basil leaves on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella, using pieces that roughly match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Note: do NOT allow the tomatoes and mozzarella sit in the oil for more than a short few minutes. The oil will just soak into the tomato and mozzarella and ruin the flavor. The oil is intended to be a garnish, and not a primary flavor in the dish.

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  1. As the sun descended over the hills and pastures on the farm on this very hot Maryland day, (first day of Fall 09) I grabbed the last of the ripe tomatoes growing from the garden. Along with this, I grabbed a boastful handful of fresh basil, and had some fresh mozzarella and a great bottle of *Wegmans* olive oil. I was all set! And what a glorious reminder of this past summer this is. I followed this exactly and ate it soon after. I just wanted to wile away the rest of the day from that point on, sitting on the porch twirling my fork lazily through the tomato, cheese, and oil, and guess what....I did. Made for my adopted *PAC* baby Septembre 2009
  2. Great salad. I used tomatoes and basil from my garden. So delicious, quick and easy. Made the New Kids on the Block tag game.


I grew up in an Italian household. My father is a graduate of the Culinary Institute, and my extended family is full of incredible cooks, all of whom know old world Italian cuisine as well as any four-star chef. I learned my way around a kitchen from all of these incredibly talented people. Even though I've never been to culinary school myself, almost all of those that I've cooked for consider me one of their favorite chefs. Ever since I was a child, cooking has been a passion of mine. I started off with simple things like omelets and tuna salad, and over the years graduated into far more complex and complicated recipes such as various marinades, brines, homemade sauces, sautees, and meals full of subtle and varied flavors, both strong and delicate. I also love to create new dishes in the kitchen, the successes of which will be posted here. I'll also be posting a few of the old world Italian recipes I make on occasion. Since my love of food has made my weight rather unhealthy, I've been focusing more on healthy dishes lately, and have been learning various Asian cuisines, as well as relearning cuisines I previously had developed my skills in, in order to eat far healthier, but still enjoy good food. The cuisines that I've developed my skills with are as follows: * Mediterranean/Italian/Greek * Cajun * Maryland * General American (steaks/burgers/fried stuff/etc.) * Tex-Mex Cuisines that I'm still developing, but have mastered a few dishes, are as follows: * English/Scottish/Irish * Various Asian cuisines (Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese) * Caribbean <img src="">
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