There's nothing like home grown tomatoes from the garden. Compared to store-bought, homegrown stem tomatoes are sweeter and more flavorful. They are picked at the height of ripeness.
High in sugar and acid, a homegrown tomato is ripened right on the vine. They will never compare to grocery bought tomatoes. If you can't grow them, buy them fresh from a local farm market.
For this caprese salad the key ingredient is homegrown tomatoes. Now if you are going to use the best tomatoes you also need to use the best mozzarella and the freshest basil.
Like homegrown tomatoes, homegrown fresh basil is more pungent and flavorful than store-bought. It's easy to plant basil in one of your containers surrounded by your potted flowers. Just do it. You'll use it all summer long.
Fresh mozzarella is just as important. Skip the dairy section of your grocery store and head to the deli and cheese department for fresh mozzarella. It's softer, has a higher moisture content and is vacuum sealed or packaged in water.
And lastly, your caprese salad would not be as delicious if you didn't use high-quality olive oil and barrel aged balsamic vinegar. Yes I said aged. It's a dark, thick syrup that's sweet and delicious. It's a little more expensive but completely worth it.
Anyone can assemble tomatoes and mozzarella, but if you want your caprese salad to stand out and take center stage follow these tips. I guarantee you your friends will be asking for your secret.
Tomato Caprese Salad
- 4 vine tomatoes, 1/4-inch slices
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/4-inch slices
- 15 fresh basil leaves, sliced
- Olive oil
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the tomato slices on a platter and top each with a slice of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper and kosher salt over the entire plate, then drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes and serve.
Serves 4. Total time: 15 minutes.