If you're in search of a simple salad that bursts with fresh Mediterranean flavors, look no further than the classic caprese salad recipe cherry tomatoes. This dish not only tickles your taste buds but also transports you to the sun-soaked island of Capri, where this traditional caprese salad has its roots.
The Origin of Caprese Salad
Before we dive into the delicious details of crafting your very own cherry tomato salad, let's take a quick trip back in time to discover the salad's origin. This perfect summer salad, also known as insalata caprese in Italian, hails from the stunning Island of Capri in the Tyrrhenian Sea. This salad is a celebration of the region's abundant produce, particularly its fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and lots of fresh basil.
Traditionally, this fresh salad consists of just a handful of ingredients: ripe slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper. It's a simple salad that truly lets the high quality of the ingredients shine. It's the perfect salad to enjoy on a hot summer day!
Now, let's put a delightful twist on the traditional caprese salad by incorporating halved cherry tomatoes. These petite tomatoes, sometimes referred to as grape tomatoes, are like little flavor bombs, bursting with sweetness and vibrant color. Below, are the ingredients that you'll need:
- Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, work wonderfully in this salad. Their small size and natural sweetness complement the creamy mozzarella and aromatic basil.
- Small Mozzarella Balls: Opt for the tiny mozzarella balls or bocconcini. They're the perfect size to pair with cherry tomatoes and make each bite a delightful blend of flavors.
- Fresh Basil Leaves: Fragrant, fresh basil is a hallmark of the caprese salad. Its peppery and slightly sweet notes enhance the overall taste.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: A drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil adds richness and a silky texture to the salad.
- Balsamic Vinegar (Optional): While not a traditional ingredient in a caprese salad, some enjoy a light drizzle of regular balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction (which we used here) for a touch of acidity and sweetness.
- Salt and Pepper: A little salt and freshly ground black pepper brings out the flavors of the other ingredients.
See recipe card for quantities.
Crafting Your Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad
Creating this delicious caprese salad is a breeze; even if you're not a seasoned chef, you'll find joy in making it. Here's how:
Gather Your Fresh Ingredients
Head to your local grocery store or farmer's market to pick up the freshest cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and basil leaves you can find. For the best results, try to get your hands on some vine-ripened, juicy tomatoes. The variety of colors will not only elevate the presentation but also provide a delightful mix of flavors.
1. Wash and dry the ripe cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Cut tomatoes in half and place in large bowl or salad bowl.
2. Add in mozzarella pearls. Drizzle in the olive oil and sprinkle in your salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using a spoon, combine ingredients so that they are all coated, evenly.
3. Transfer and plate ingredients onto your favorite serving dish. Add as many basil leaves as you desire.
4. If you like a touch of sweetness and acidity, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze can be a delightful addition. This step is entirely optional and depends on your personal taste.
Hint: If your mozzarella pearls are packed in water, drain them well. You can also pat them dry with a paper towel to prevent excess moisture in the salad.
Our recommendation: Serve with a side of crusty bread to soak up some of the residual balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture. We also highly recommend pairing this dish with our fried sardines!
Serve and Savor
There are so many delicious ways serve and enjoy this easy caprese salad. Serve it as a refreshing appetizer, a perfect side dish, a side salad, or even as a light and healthy snack.
This unique twist on this delicious salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Its bright colors (which represent the colors of the Italian flag), vibrant flavors, and little effort make it a fantastic choice for any occasion, from casual gatherings to elegant dinners. So, next time you want a taste of the Mediterranean, whip up this caprese salad recipe cherry tomatoes and transport yourself to the sun-drenched shores of Capri. Enjoy!
Store leftover salad in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.
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Depending on your preference, you can serve the caprese salad chilled from the refrigerator or allow it to come to room temperature for a more pronounced flavor profile.
Yes, you can prepare components of a caprese salad in advance to save time and ensure freshness. However, it's best to assemble the salad just before serving to maintain the quality of the ingredients.
Keep perishable ingredients like mozzarella cheese and ripe tomatoes refrigerated until you're ready to assemble the salad. This prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
Looking for other great recipes like this? Try these:
Caprese Salad with Cherry TomatoesAuthor:
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 12 oz small mozzarella balls
- handful of fresh basil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Wash and dry cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Cut tomatoes in half and place in large bowl.
- Add in mozzarella pearls. Drizzle in the olive oil and sprinkle in your salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using a spoon, combine ingredients so that they are all coated, evenly.
- Plate ingredients onto your favorite serving dish. Add as many basil leaves as you desire.
- If you like a touch of sweetness and acidity, add a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze. This step is entirely optional and depends on your personal taste.