I think late summer may be my favorite time for Farmers Markets in North Carolina—mostly because the season’s sweetest tomatoes have arrived. And I like to think of tomatoes as an excellent excuse to eat mozzarella cheese. (I’ve heard that it’s frowned upon to just serve yourself a plate of fresh mozzarella. Just to be clear, this would not be frowned upon by me.)
Anyway, over the weekend I created this salad using a few of those tomatoes, some fresh locally-made mozzarella, and an olive oil I picked up in Italy. It was the greatest caprese salad I’ve ever made. So, since I’ve created my greatest, I feel confident sharing some tips for your creation.
- Eat local. Get as many of your ingredients—tomatoes, cheese, basil—as possible from local farmers and artisans.
- Except for the olive oil and salt. Olive oils that you’re not cooking with should come from Italy. Check the bottle. You want olives that are picked and press in Italy. You’ll taste the difference. Trust me. It will actually taste like—crazy as this sounds—olives. As for salt, I’m a salt snob. My favorite easy-to-obtain brand though is Real Salt.
- Pick and tear your basil just before you serve. It’s the most fragrant in that moment.
- Use different colored tomatoes. This is mostly for presentation purposes, but also adds a nice mix of flavors.
- Serve with crusty bread and pour your olive oil liberally enough that you’ll have lots to sop up.
Eat up and enjoy!