Italy in the summer… it brings back such wonderful memories – especailly heading into winter in Australia!
So much of Italy was about food and wine . Now we didn’t head there soley for that purpose but it is so ingrained in the culture it can’t help but become such a major part of the joourney. I do believe the local food is part of the experience of a trip, well, anywhere really. But no where have I found it more so than Italy.
They have a saying – There is no food without wine – and there is no wine without food! That works just fine for me!
The Italian’s have a way of making food sinple yet packed full of flavour. Perhaps it’s the combination of ingredients, so complimentary that they allow the best qualities of each to shine through.
Not like here in Australia. I think it’s a race to see just how many food stuffs you can get on to a single pizza!
One of my favourite things to eat – which was light and refreshing – was Caprese Salad
It’s hard to beat the classic flavor combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
I discovered there was mozzarella and then there was MOZZARELLA!! (said gesturing, hands in front, with a deep italian accent) Mama Mia!
Buffalo Mozzeralla in Italy comes from the milk of a domesticated Italian Water Buffalo. It’s creamy with a stronger and more tangy flavour than mozzarella from a cow. Eating at a restaurant they told us that Mozerella is served fresh, the same day it is made. Any left over may be used in cooking the following day and then it is not used past that. So it is always fresh and beautiful. You can’t compare it to what we buy locally at the supermarket.
This version of my Caprese Salad brings another dimension by adding a rich and syrupy balsamic glaze instead of straight vinegar to top it off. This, combined with a really good quality extra virgin olive oil, is all you need to make this classic shine!
(You probably wont get Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella unless you live next to an Italian Water Buffalo Farm – but the balls of mozzarella from the deli or supermarket will suffice. – but get the best you can)
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 12 oz. fresh mozzarella, large ball
- 1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried
- 3 Tbs really good extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste
- Thoroughly wash and pat tomatoes and fresh basil dry. Slice tomatoes into evenly sized pieces, approximately ¼” thick, and set aside. Discard the bottom and top pieces. Slice fresh mozzarella into ¼” thick pieces, as well.
- On each plate, start with a tomato slice, followed by mozzarella and a large, fresh basil leaf. Repeat this pattern until you’ve added 1 tomato and approximately 3 oz. of mozzarella to each plate, finishing each arrangement with a tomato slice. Drizzle with high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
- To make the balsamic glaze, heat 1 cup of good balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume, stirring continually. When the liquid becomes thick and syrupy, it is ready to use.
- Let glaze cool before drizzling over the fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with additional sprigs of fresh basil, if desired.
This recipe was also shared at The Joy Chaser