How to Make a Caprese Salad

roy cataño/Demand Media

The classic insalata Caprese demonstrates how simple, fresh ingredients can become a sublime dish. A Neapolitan classic named after the island of Capri, insalata Caprese layers slices of ripe, juicy tomatoes with creamy fresh mozzarella and peppery leaves of fresh basil. Top it all with just a drizzle of high quality olive oil and you've got a quintessential Italian dish that is best served in summer, when the ingredients are at their best.

roy cataño/Demand Media

Select the highest quality ingredients. Opt for locally grown, ripe tomatoes; fresh buffalo mozzarella; fresh, young basil leaves; extra virgin olive oil; sea salt; and coarsely ground black pepper.

roy cataño/Demand Media

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve them right away, or allow them to sit in a small amount of olive oil and a pinch of salt for an hour before assembly. If you marinate them in the oil, drain them before continuing and reserve the residual juice to drizzle over the top of the completed salad.

roy cataño/Demand Media

Use a serrated knife to slice the mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices. The serrated knife makes it easy to cut through the soft cheese.

roy cataño/Demand Media

Overlap slices of tomato and mozzarella on a serving plate. Create a circular design or lay the ingredients in rows. Tear the basil leaves and sprinkle them over the tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper just before serving.