Love is the best ingredient…
DadChef and I celebrated 15 years of marriage (26 years of couplehood) last week and had some fun in la Cucina making all the lovey dovey foods together. I usually wait until February – the “official” Month of Love – to post these sorts of recipes, but times just feel so heavy right now with all that’s going on in the world and we could all use a little more reminders to lean into love…it’s the way through. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you’ll know I have an affinity for a good Caprese Salad, and this Caprese Salad D’amore (of love) Recipe was fun to make for a date night at home or addition to your family’s Valentine’s Day menu. As I enter another week of managing e-learning at home for four kids and already wondering if they’re accepting applications for sabbatical ;), loads of grace & self-love + compassion is feeling super significant right now…
Caprese Salad Essentials
A salad of fresh mozzarella (known in Italy as Fior di Latte Mozzarella if made with cow’s milk or Mozzarella di Bufala if made with milk of a water buffalo), tomato, and fresh basil that’s a usual suspect on Italian restaurant menus or antipasto spreads, the caprese salad is pronounced “cuh-PRAY-zay.” It’s believed the construction and layering of the salad is symbolic of the Italian flag – red tomato, green basil leaf, then white mozzarella. The best tomatoes to use in a Caprese salad usually depend on seasonal availability – I’ve used Roma Tomatoes, On-the-Vine, HotHouse & Heirloom in our plated Caprese & Grape or Cherry Tomatoes for caprese skewers. The tomato should be ripe enough to yield good flavour but semi-firm for slicing and texture. For the dressing (and my favourite part – the drizzle), a pairing of quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction (“glaze”) are key. The best balsamic glaze is made with the balsamic vinegar of Modena, Italy (look for “Made in Modena” on the bottle). I love a traditional balsamic glaze on my Caprese best, but we also tried this with a pomegranate infused flavour and it was delish. A sprinkle of coarse Mediterranean sea salt & freshly ground black pepper complete the perfect Caprese Salad.
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How to Make a Caprese Salad D’amore
What you’ll need
Heart Cheese Board
2 + 1/2 Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Balls
2 Large Tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse Salt & Ground Black Pepper
Fresh Basil Leaves
I’ve made so many versions of Caprese Salad for the blog, but this one may have been my favourite. I bought a beautiful heart-shaped food board made by an artisan working fair trade in India through World Vision Canada’s LOVE collection. Slice the mozzarella & tomatoes width-wise to get the largest slices. This board was approx. 11 x 11 and I needed two + 1/2 fresh mozzarella balls and two large tomatoes (Heirloom or HotHouse) to fill out the outside heart-shape with about 9 slices of each. I started at the top left heart curve & worked by way down and back up around, alternating the tomato, basil, mozzarella pattern. For the LOVE cheese cut outs, we’ve been having fun using these alphabet veg/fruit cutters. You should be able to get all for letters L-O-V-E from one large slice of mozzarella and place in the center of the food board.
If you won’t be eating/serving the Caprese salad right away, drizzle a bit of olive oil over top, cover in saran wrap & refrigerate until meal time. Right before serving, drizzle olive oil & balsamic reduction in a zig-zag motion over top the layers, then sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with extra basil leaves & voila – your Caprese Salad D’amore is ready to devour! That’s [Caprese} Amore!
DadChef & I love having Caprese Salad on a no-cook Friday night with a fresh baguette & a glass (or two!) of vino.
Other Ways to Enjoy Caprese Combos
If you love for a good Caprese salad runs deep like ours does, you’ll probably love these other ways to enjoy it too:
We hope you enjoy this recipe with your family & if you try it let us know in comments or tag us over on IG @House_of_Kerrs #LaCucinadiKerrs. We appreciate your food love shares SO very much. And if you have a bit of extra inside you to give, keep spreading the love!
With love & gratitude,