Capri Salad

Insalata Caprese

Everybody’s favourite! My friend Vera Oliviero and I prepared this on the terrace of her glorious villa overlooking the bay of Positano. You are unlikely to find the delicious pink tomatoes that she used anywhere other than in the Positano area - apparently the volcanic soil gives them their strange colour and texture. They were the most delicious tomatoes I have ever eaten. As a substitute, use beef or marmande tomatoes, or organically grown tomatoes they taste more like Italian ones! As for Vera’s husband Nello’s amazing basil, it was exceptionally perfumed! You must be sure to use really fresh mozzarella in this recipe. Press it gently between your finger and thumb: if it’s fresh it should be very soft and wet. The salad was originally created on the island of Capri, which is how it got its name.

Ingredients

  • 2–3 large tomatoes
  • 5 oz (150 g) very fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves, torn and whole
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into thickish slices. Slice the mozzarella into similar-shaped pieces.

Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices alternately on a platter, working round the edges in a circle. Fill the centre if you have enough slices left over.

Scatter with the basil, then dress with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once, or after no more than 30 minutes.

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