It’s summer, tomatoes’ season and which better than Caprese antipasto can represent them with dignity? It’s because these five elements: mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt and olive oil and adding roasted peppers, capers, olive and prosciutto that you will find in this dish and will make it an amazing companion for your light dinner in summer, eating it in the sunset in your balcony.
This dish is a layering of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and leaves of basil, resembling the white, red and green flag of Italy. The salad is usually topped with olive oil, vinegar (often balsamic), and salt and pepper. It is not served in a salad bowl, but is usually accompanied by a small fork, and served from a shared dish. Diners take a few pieces of each item, and may also have bruschetta to accompany the dish. Though antipasto varies in form, and numerous adaptations and recipes exist, its main purpose is to extend the meal.
- 2 ripe bell peppers, 1 red and 1 yellow if possible
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, at room temperature
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, in assorted colors if possible
- ½ pound cherry tomatoes, in assorted colors if possible
- Handful of caperberries, or 1 tablespoon large capers, rinsed
- Handful of good-quality olives
- 6 thin slices of prosciutto, more if desired
- Handful of basil leaves
Start preparing Caprese Antipasto by roasting peppers, set them directly in the flames of a gas burner turned to high, or over hot coals if you happen to be grilling. Turn peppers with tongs until skins are blackened and blistered all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate and let cool. To peel, cut peppers lengthwise. Scrape seeds and veins away with your knife, then turn peppers over and scrape away charred skin. Slice peeled peppers into 1/2-inch ribbons and place in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss. (Peppers may be roasted up to a day ahead.)
- Cut mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices. Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices and halve cherry tomatoes.
- Arrange mozzarella slices in the center of a large platter. Surround with tomatoes and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add roasted pepper strips, caperberries and olives. Drape prosciutto around the platter. Garnish with basil leaves. Drizzle generously with olive oil and serve.
A caprese salad is brilliantly simple: mozzarella sits atop freshly sliced tomatoes and basil that’s drizzled in olive oil. While Mozzarella has a delicate taste, which might lead you toward a crisp white wine, like Prosecco, those juicy tomatoes are begging for something a little heartier. Lambrusco is a great choice, because it still has the light, bubbly quality of a Prosecco while providing a bit more backbone for the meatiness of the tomatoes.