Friday, July 23, 2010

Tapenade Part 2 - With Caprese Salad

Photo by Rainer Zenz

Ah Caprese Salad! The Italians on that tiny island have it right. Simple, refreshing, a meal in itself. Traditionally, the salad consists only of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Anything else, apparently, is heresy.

However, I have seen it dressed with a bit of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, placed on a bed of lettuce; I recently saw a Caprese salad with avocado slices tucked in (Gasp!)

My favorite way to enjoy this salad is to make a big beautiful plate of it, such as above. If you can find yellow and orange tomatoes to add to the red, it is all the prettier. Using the large, heirloom varieties, will make the tomato lovers among you completely cave in.

Serve it with tapenade and a large crusty baguette sliced into pieces. Guests can take a plate with the salad and dollop a big spoonful of tapenade on top. I love the way the brininess of the tapenade interacts with the complex tomato flavor and the smooth, cool cheese. When the salad is gone, soak up the juices and the olive oil with extra bread.


I realize this is a departure from the Capri recipe, but if eating this is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Make this as an appetizer, a first course, or--my favorite--a simple summer supper. You don't even have to go near your stove.

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