I was looking for something easy this week — mostly out of a laziness about grocery shopping, not being overwhelmed — when I realized this may be the perfect time to make a Caprese salad.
I more or less knew the ingredients without looking at a recipe — tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. But should there be balsamic vinegar? Should it include lettuce too? Was there anything I was missing?
So, I turned to the internet. I skimmed across a couple of links before I saw a NSFW headline that basically said with Caprese salad, keep it simple, stupid. It was from Serious Eats (seriouseats.com), and I’ve enjoyed their stuff so I clicked on it.
And it turned out, as I suspected, to be a mini-rant about all the unnecessary ingredients that go into making a Caprese salad fancier or more interesting, when really the bare necessities make for a pretty delightful salad.
The author noted, “Working on a recipe for Caprese salad is kind of like working on updating the Beatles’ classic ‘If I Fell.’ It’s so damn near perfect already, where is there to go with it?”
So, I listened to the advice. I didn’t need more than what I was planning, not even the balsamic.
And you know what? Serious Eats was right. The salad was light, easy and delicious. There was no need for frills because ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper is a perfect summer salad.
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes (I prefer these; but otherwise, about 1 1/2 pounds should do for bigger tomatoes), quartered
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, chopped
5-6 big leaves of basil (or to taste), chopped
Olive oil, preferably the good stuff, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Throw the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil together in a large bowl or stack on a large plate. Drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Stir once more to combine, if using a bowl. Serve immediately, and enjoy!