Today’s recipe is for my family’s Saturday caprese salad. Yes, I have a salad that I make every Saturday whenever tomatoes are in season. We eat this salad because it’s easy to prep in just a few minutes and our kids devour it as soon as they get home from their various activities. The Saturday caprese salad is satisfying yet light, and that’s why it’s perfect for Saturday lunch. Read on to find out more and get the recipe!
The caprese salad became our go-to Saturday lunch dish totally by accident. After all, I have several other really amazing, filling salads in my regular rotation. But the caprese is a winner with the kids. They love the creamy buffalo mozzarella, quivering and bulbous in a container of its own milky whey. They love sweet, juicy tomatoes and the basil leaves from our little balcony herb garden, which they run out to gather themselves whenever I yell out, “CAPRESE TIME!” We are a house of simple pleasures.
One weekend we had a bumper crop of basil. The London weather had just changed from gray and drizzly into the first hints of summer, with longer days and peeks of sunshine. Our basil, which had been shy and tentative, suddenly burst forth, leafy and abundant. The kids went wild and came in with their little hands stained green and brimming with bunches of basil. What to do? I decided to make a pesto, adding in flecks of lemon zest and lemon juice for extra zing.
The acidity from the lemon juice was like breathing life into this salad; there was suddenly balance and contrast in something that is seriously the most simple salad. The Saturday caprese salad is here to stay in our house as long as the tomatoes are red, juicy and ripe. What do you think?
- For the salad:
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced into ¼ inch (1/2 cm) slices
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 handful of basil leaves, rinsed, dried and torn
- For the pesto:
- ½ cup good quality olive oil
- 2 cups lightly-packed basil leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, pulse the garlic clove until it's finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, basil and lemon zest and pulse several times to get a nice, roughly chopped consistency.
- With the food processor motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, a little bit at a time, until you get a nice thick-ish sauce. Scrape the pesto from the food processor into a small bowl and set aside.
- Arrange the mozzarella slices and tomato slices in alternating layers on a large plate. Scatter the basil leaves over. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the pesto over the salad. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.