The caprese salad, with its fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, is a simple Summer dish. I must admit I thought my standard caprese recipe didn't need any improvement, but on a recent episode of Jamie Oliver at Home, Chef Oliver suggested generously salting and straining the tomatoes to improve the flavor intensity for the ultimate caprese salad. While I have often salted veggies to remove excess water, I hadn't ever thought to use the same technique on tomatoes. I was a little apprehensive about the tip but had to give it a try!
I sliced up a basket full of fresh tomatoes, placed them in my colander, and salted away. After 20 minutes, the tomatoes had lost a fair amount of water, and with that most of the salt as well. The result was just as Jamie Oliver promised: a more intense tomato flavor that wasn't overly salted. Of course, assembling a caprese with these flavorful tomatoes, burrata mozzarella and a variety of basil fresh from my garden was a piece of cake. I can't wait to use the same technique for my next batch of bruschetta — or even a simple garden salad. Don't be scared of a little extra salt to bring out even more flavor; keep reading for the recipe.
2 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, different shapes and colors
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 cup basil, different varieties if available, finely chopped
1 ball of burrata mozzarella
- Slice the tomatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a colander either in the sink or a larger bowl. Season the tomatoes with salt and gently stir to ensure they are completely covered. Set aside for 20 minutes or so.
- To prepare the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and red chile flakes.
- Plate the tomatoes with mozzarella, drizzle the dressing over the top, and sprinkle the basil.
Serves 4-6 people.
- Vegetables, Salads