Caprese salad (or insalata Caprese) is a simple salad made with ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. For the best classic Caprese salad, it’s important to use quality ingredients. Check our article for tips on choosing tomatoes, mozzarella, and olive oil.
1 pound ripe tomatoes, see notes
4 to 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
Handful fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Slice tomatoes into thin slices. For a more rustic salad with lots of shapes and textures, we leave some slices as full circles and slice a few into half moon shapes. If using smaller tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes, slice in half and thirds, which also adds a variety of shapes and sizes to the salad.
Tear the mozzarella cheese into smaller chunks.
Pick basil leaves from the stem. Leave smaller leaves whole and tear larger leaves in half or into quarters.
Arrange half of the tomatoes onto a serving plate and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add a light drizzle of the olive oil, and then tuck some of the basil and a few pieces of the torn mozzarella in and around the tomatoes. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes, seasoning them with salt and pepper, and layering in more basil and mozzarella.
Set the salad aside for 5 to 15 minutes, in this time, the salt with draw some of the juices out of the tomatoes, which makes an incredibly delicious dressing at the bottom of the plate (perfect for sopping up with bread).