Tuesday, June 13, 2006

La Caprese – Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and Tomatoes

It is summertime, at least here in Dallas with 100 degree temperatures, and that means changing the types of food consumed, particularly during the day. Red meats, fat-based and high carbohydrate foods are to avoid while fresh fruits, cheeses and vegetables are in. Cold rice based salads combined with vegetables and fresh cheeses will provide the necessary calories without overloading the body. One of my favorites is the Caprese.


The Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Caprese, or simply La Caprese, is made in different ways in different parts of Italy. In Campania, the region around Naples, it is simply Mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper and oregano. The Caprese in Milan adds olive oil and does not always have oregano. I have seen, in some parts of eastern Italy, both olive oil and wine vinegar. Oil would never be added in Campania, the region where Mozzarella di Bufala is produced, because the locals believe that the oil modifies the taste of the cheese.

No matter what seasoning is added this dish is so simple that the ingredients must be quality. I would use homegrown tomatoes, whenever possible, and the mozzarella must be the large balls and not the bite size pieces. Processed mozzarella, the kind that comes in a block, should not be used. The mozzarella must be fresh and I would buy the best mozzarella I could afford. The difference in price actually means something in mozzarella. Balance is everything in this dish; follow the instructions carefully.

La Caprese Campana

Ingredients:

1 lb. (450 gr.) of Mozzarella di Bufala
1 lb. (450 gr.) vine ripened tomatoes
6 leaves fresh Basil
Oregano
Salt
Pepper

Preparation:

Cut the Mozzarella and the tomatoes into 1 inch thick slices. Place one slice of mozzarella on the plate, overlap with one slice of tomato. Continue to fill the plate. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper, and oregano. Place the whole leaves of Basil on the slices. Keep cool and serve within 1 hour.

La Caprese Milanese

Ingredients:

1 lb. (450 gr.) of Mozzarella di Bufala
1 lb. (450 gr.) vine ripened tomatoes
6 leaves fresh Basil
1 deciliter quality Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

Cut the Mozzarella and the tomatoes into 1 inch thick slices. Place one slice of mozzarella on the plate, overlap with one slice of tomato. Continue to fill the plate. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Break, not chop, the basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle the Basil on the slices. Pour the olive oil evenly over the entire plate. Keep cool and serve within 1 hour.


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5 Comments:

Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Fortunately that is one type of cheese we get in Sydney so I am familiar with the dish. It's perfect during summer!

8:31 PM

 
Blogger a.c.t said...

I prefer the Milan version and not because I'm biased - I can't imagine it without olive oil, it works perfectly with the tomatoe, adds moisture and is lovely to dip bread in.

12:33 AM

 
Blogger Travel Italy said...

ChickyBabe - Light summer dishes, fresh veggies, this is the life.

ACT - I understand, personally I appreciate the Milan version but we have to give it to our friends from Campania. They have fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, why modify it?

7:27 AM

 
Blogger MsDemmie said...

Now I am hungry !

10:00 AM

 
Blogger Travel Italy said...

Ms Demmie - Thanks for stopping by!

7:16 AM

 

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