By Harbor Hills Member Pete Steriti
When delicious heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs like basil are abundant, we especially enjoy Caprese Salads.
“Salad of Capri” is wonderful yet simply made by layering seasonal tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (sold bulk in brine often at deli counter or with specialty other cheeses in vacuum sealed packages), and basil leaves.
In Italy, Caprese salad is traditionally flavored with fine olive oil lightly salted preserving the pure flavors of its fresh ingredients. My recipe includes a lite balsamic vinaigrette option. Be ready to be amazed by the magic the finished drizzle of balsamic glaze brings to this salad.
The second, Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Shaved Parmigiana, is my favorite. It’s also my go-to salad for dinner guests especially when serving “Italian”.
This incredible salad is bursting with flavor and so easy to prepare. Arugula’s peppery taste is complemented with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and the bold and distinct taste of shaved parmigiana and prosciutto. The slightly sweet drizzle of balsamic glaze adds perfect balance.
This recipe will serve 6…Ingredients:
- 4 or 5 flavorful season tomatoes
- 1-pound fresh mozzarella, pre-sliced or solid
- About 30 fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic vinaigrette or fine olive oil with a small sprinkle of salt
- Balsamic Glaze store bought or homemade (see below)
- Optional, garnish with diced red onion and Kalamata olives as shown.
- Combine 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup of quality balsamic vinegar. Add 1/8 teaspoon prepared mustard, 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil, salt and pepper. Whisk.
- Remove tomatoes’ rough stems. Cut them vertically into 1/4 inches’ thick slices.
- Cut fresh mozzarella into 18 equal slices.
- Place the largest slice of tomatoes on each plate followed by a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf (see picture). Repeat, by adding another slice of tomatoes, a basil leaf and another slice of cheese, basil and tomatoes. Use the smaller slices of cheese, tomato and basil leaf on one side.
- Stir vinaigrette and drizzle by spoon over the salad.
- Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Note: Fresh mozzarella is not the same as “Buffalo Mozzarella”. True Italian Buffalo Mozzarella is traditionally made from buffalo milk. It is sold as “Mozzarella di Bufala Campana”, is certified and protected. It also is welcomed in this salad.
Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Shaved Parmigiana
10 oz. package of Arugula will easily serve 6 as a side salad. About 4 oz. of parmigiana and the equivalent of one slice of thin prosciutto per plate are ample.
Select freshest arugula. Overgrown leaves tend to be bitter. Leaves past their prime turn yellowish.
- 10 oz. arugula
- ¼ pound shaved parmigiana cheese from a larger wedge
- 6 slices (less than ¼ pound) thinly sliced prosciutto
- 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon quality balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Balsamic glaze
- Rinse and blot arugula dry.
- Using a potato peeler, shave off about ¼ pound of parmigiana.
- Cut each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise and perpendicular in ¾ inch lengths. Spread pieces on wax paper.
- Wisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. When ready to serve, toss arugula with dressing. Continue tossing while lightly salting (prosciutto and parmigiana are already salty).
- Alternatively add arugula, pinches of prosciutto, and pieces of parmigiana onto serving plate. Reserve some for show on top.
- Lightly drizzle balsamic glaze over and finish with fresh ground black pepper.
By Harbor Hills Member Pete Steriti
Visit Peter’s website: www.luciatramonte.com for more great recipes