The official start of summer is less than a week away! Summer not only brings more days by the pool, but it also brings fresh seasonal produce for us to enjoy. Our Pesto Caprese Salad uses perfectly-ripe tomatoes & basil that peak in flavor during the summer months. This vibrant dish is a fresh twist on an Italian classic, whose history begins on the small island of Capri, Italy. The precise origin of the caprese salad is unknown, though some believe the dish was first created as a colorful tribute to the Italian flag.
“Insalata Caprese,” as it is called in its country of origin, is traditionally eaten as a light appetizer. Intended to feature some of Italy’s finest ingredients, it consists of vine-ripened tomatoes, young basil, & mozzarella made from water buffalo milk. (Yes, buffalo milk!) These components are customarily arranged with alternating slices of tomato & cheese, a generous garnish of basil on top. The salad is often drizzled with extra virgin olive oil & a sprinkle of salt & pepper, though some prefer it bare.
Because of its simplicity, the quality of each ingredient in the dish is important. Vine-ripened tomatoes are the key to a perfectly juicy texture. Young, small leaves of basil pack more flavor than larger mature leaves, which makes them a perfect garnish for caprese salad. Buffalo milk mozzarella is much softer, creamier, & more flavorful than cow’s milk mozzarella. However, this mouthwatering cheese is difficult to find. It is almost exclusively produced in Naples, Italy, & must use a traditional Italian recipe in order to meet government regulation standards.
Here at Anna’s House, our Pesto Caprese Salad is anything but traditional. While the classic version is served as a light appetizer, our zesty version will leave you satisfied & refreshed. We’ve added a crisp base of spring mix, flavorful pesto dressing, & a drizzle of tangy balsamic glaze. Of course, this salad is packed full of the classic ingredients as well. We use bite-size cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, & basil ribbons so you can taste more flavors in one bite! Try adding fresh avocado & grilled chicken for even more flavor & heartiness.