Sunday, June 24, 2012

The salad of Capri

AKS: As our last days heat up, this Italian summer is reminding me more and more of a typical Texas summer! We have tried to stay cool by closing up the windows and doors to block out the heat but it hasn’t been enough… so we’ve moved on to eating the most summer-friendly foods! Insalate Caprese is my favorite summer dish in all of Italian cuisine! This salad is so simple; it truly epitomizes the attitude of “less is more.” Caprese salad is said to have originated from the beautiful island of Capri in the 1950’s and contains the three colors of the Italian flag. Caprese salad is made with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Traditional Italian recipes call for the freshest ingredients, which is perfect in the summer months because it is tomato season! The delicious tomatoes we have consumed while being here at Santa Chiara have confirmed my love for the fruit, although I know tomatoes of the same quality are hard to find in the States. In America, traditional recipes from exotic places are usually changed and “upgraded” to meet the American demand to have the newest and best product. Some Caprese salads in the States may have oregano and parsley, thinly sliced zucchini or cucumbers, and balsamic vinegar drizzled over. This mentality undermines the appeal of such a simple and tasty dish. I like my Caprese with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt! I will be on a mission to find a worthy tomato in Texas to make this wonderful Italian summer salad while remembering all the Italian adventures I have experienced this summer.

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