Caprese Salad is a somewhat Italian-American dish since it has increased so much in popularity in recent years. More and more people know what fresh mozzarella looks like and even prefer the boccancini, or the small fresh mozzarella balls, to processed and tasteless shredded ‘mozzarella’ cheese.
I grew up on variations of Insalata Caprese. Caprese means of the isle of Capri, which is located off the western coast of Southern Italy. I’ve not been there yet, but I’ve been close by having traveled all along the Amalfi Coast through the towns of Positano, Sorrento and Amalfi. They are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I’ve ever been and it still feels like somewhat of a dream that I’ve ever been there at all. It truly is the stuff of magazines. In fact, I followed a magazine article all the way to the town square and found the exact same vendors from the snapshot right there in the town of Positano. They were so excited about the clip that they wanted pictures of themelves holding it up. Through my broken Italian and being la Americana, they mistook me for a news reporter from New York rather than the curious college student wanting to explore la bella vita in Italia that I was.
I need to find that photo.
If you ever go to the Amalfi Coast- anywhere on it- you have to pinch yourself when there because it’s so hard to believe that such a place of intense beauty exists in this world, let alone being so fortunate to be there among the high cliffs, ancient architecture, lovely Italian language, the freshest food imaginable and the gorgeous coastal waters.
I think I need to go back.
Here’s my version of Insalata Caprese, not using the typical fresh herb of basil in it because I had an overload of parsley at home just waiting to be dressed on top of rather small but delectable farmers market red and yellow tomatoes. Just use what’s fresh and you won’t be disappointed.
Caprese Salad with Parsley
The measurements in this recipe are estimated because it really just depends on what you have on hand. Add a little more olive oil, parsley or salt if you like and depending on how many people you plan to serve. It’s a pretty flexible dish that can be served on the side or even as an appetizer for a party.
10-12 red campari tomatoes, or any fresh tomatoes
3-4 yellow tomatoes (optional)
3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese or small mozzarella balls, known as boccancini
salt, to taste
Wash and pat dry the tomatoes and parsley. (I like to spray everything with white vinegar and leave for a few minutes before rinsing off very well since vinegar is such a great natural antibacterial disinfectant).
Slice the tomatoes into wedges and roughly chop the parsley.
Decorate a serving platter or plate with the tomatoes and the mozzarella lining the plate in a circular fashion.
Just before serving, sprinkle the tomatoes with salt (if you do this too early, the tomatoes will release their juices and the plate will be wet with this underneath all of the pretty ingredients).
Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and the cheese. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and serve.
Bismillah and Buon Appetito!