Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mozzarella, Tomato and Strawberry Salad

We have enjoyed many wonderful Italian food traditions over the years, as Nana married into an Italian family.  I am blessed with the joy of having both Italian and French lineage, which makes for some lovely meals. 

A standard that we typically serve as an appetizer or first course would be a Caprese salad (Insalata Caprese).  I can not count the times that Nana or I have made this, but I can tell you with complete certainty that it has never before included a strawberry.  Until this French Friday........

Per Tricia ~

This week was even easier than ever, with the toughest
part of the "recipe" involving driving to the store to get
the ingredients.  And luckily, my husband handled that :) 

 I was surprisingly curious to taste this "old favorite"
 with a new twist and it did not disappoint.

In addition to the sliced fresh strawberries, mozzarella,
 fresh basil and cherry tomatoes, I added some olive oil,
Maldon sea salt and cracked peppercorns. 
 I did not have the pink ones Dorie suggested using
and opted not to ask hubby to look for them at the store.
  Why ruin a good thing. He might have then asked how
much the Maldon sea salt cost ......

In addition to the strawberries being new on the
"Caprese" plate, I typically do not add a vinegar to this
combo..... but did this time per Dorie.  I used a Raspberry
Champagne vinegar and it was a lovely compliment
to the flavors.  My husband, older son and I shared a plate
and we all agreed that we really liked the combination. 
 We also thought the "kick" of the fresh basil, as well as the
vinegar, was what really brought together the individual
 items on the plate. They made the dish. 

 I will gladly use this as a new way to enjoy these ingredients
 during the summer months - a keeper for sure.

Per Nana ~
Normally, I use fresh mozzarella from the
Italian  Market, but since I had some Polly-O

This is not my idea of a caprese salad
because of the strawberries. 
 I didn't particularly care for the combination.   
 left  from making a Manicotti dish, I wanted to use it up.  
However, let it be known there is no way this
 can compare with a fresh mozzarella.
The dish is quite impressive looking, but it just didn't work for us.  


  1. I loved this recipe. I think it might be my favorite Dorie recipe yet - it's so simple, but the flavors just really worked for me tonight :)

  2. My family gobbled this up. I love the idea of the raspberry vinegar.

  3. Sorry that Nana didn't like it :( We (and out neighbours) loved this dish. Will be making again very soon!

  4. Raspberry vinegar sounds nice. I think I used a pomegranite vinegar that I needed to use up. (I usually put basalmic on my caprese...)
    Tricia - your comment about not letting your husband know about the cost of the sea salt cracked me up. I have had to send The Dude out for different spices and he goes into shock with some of them :-)
    Nana-sorry this wasn't a hit for you.

  5. Both salads look gorgeous...but sorry it wasn't a favorite, Nana. But it makes for a more interesting post with the contrasting views/impressions :)

  6. Tricia - I've been using pink peppercorns for a few things lately, and really like the spicy sweetness. Nana - Sorry you didn't care for this one.

  7. I think both salads look great but I really think it works best with the fresh mozzarella. Great post!

  8. It's always interesting to see a split decision. Tricia is absolutely correct, sourcing the ingredients is the hardest part of this salad! The quality of the ingredients make or break this dish, I think.

    Both salads look gorgeous. Great work girls!

  9. It's funny how last week, it was Nana who was raving about the roasted rhubarb, and this week it's Tricia who's into her salad! Thats why I like coming here, both of you always come up with such interesting perspectives on Dorie's recipes, and they aren't always the same or agreeable ;-).

  10. So sorry to hear that it wasn't a hit for both of you. They're gorgeous, though! :)

  11. The salad looks so fresh and summery - I didn't make it, but it looks intriguing. I think of myself as a caprese purist too, but I'll try anything once!

  12. OH the pink peppercorns made all the difference! If you have the juice to make this again I highly recommend them! Great post!

  13. Both salads look yummy! I think this salad is so simple and delicious, I'm sorry Nana that you didn't enjoy your salad, the strawberries are different I admit that;-) I agree with Allison the pink peppercorns were good;-)

  14. Nana, I get when one needs to just use up some ingredients. I really liked the freshness of this salad, but had it as a snack instead of a meal. Tricia, the raspberry vinegar sounds lovely. I stuck to balsamic for this one.

  15. Both salads look great! I am with Tricia on this one,,,I thought totally delicious and will definitely make it again! Lovely photos! Sorry this was not a hit for you, Nana. Have a great week-end!

  16. Sorry Nana didn't like it, but, Tricia, your salad looks delicious. I thought this was an interesting twist and I'm glad I tried it. The raspberry vinegar sounds good. I also agree the hardest part was the shopping, though I did that myself.

  17. I love reading your opposing opinions. I was hesitant to use strawberries in this salad, but I enjoyed them and found myself craving this salad again today. But, I don't think I could serve it to my Italian friends...they would probably think I'd gone too far...probably think I had ruined a perfect salad.

  18. I wasn't sure about this recipe, either, but we really enjoyed it. I didn't use vinegar this time, but might try that (and burrata) next time. I'm sorry you didn't like it, Nana. I love how willing we all are to stretch our taste buds with this cooking group, even if a few recipes fall short for us.

  19. It's hard trying something new when you know how well the original works! Credit to you both for being open to it and trying it! Great looking salads by the way!!

  20. The raspberry vinegar sounds good. I'll have to try the salad with it next time. Sorry that Nana didn't care for it. Neither did my husband, he's more of a traditionalist for the caprese salad.

  21. This looks delicious...I would never have thought of strawberries with the other ingredients but now I shall have to try this....xv