Ah, the Caprese salad, a dish as simple as it is divine. The vibrant colors of ripe tomatoes, the creamy mozzarella, and the freshness of basil leaves create a symphony of flavors that speak directly to the soul. It’s no wonder that this Italian classic has found a beloved place in the hearts of Venice, Florida’s food enthusiasts.
The Classic Caprese Salad: A Taste of Venice in Every Bite
This classic Caprese salad isn’t just a starter; it’s a conversation between the earthy elements of our local produce and the artistry of minimalist cuisine. It invites you to take a moment, to appreciate the merger of textures and tastes, and to understand that sometimes, the most enchanting experiences come from the most straightforward combinations. It’s tough to surpass the timeless blend of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a classic Caprese salad. This recipe, however, brings an added layer of flavor with a balsamic glaze, providing a richer and more syrupy taste compared to plain vinegar.
Around Town: Discovering Delicious Caprese Inspired Dishes in Venice, Florida
Clever Monkey Craft Grill & Bar
1272 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
Phone: +1 941-786-1834
At Clever Monkey Craft Grill & Bar, the Venetian Eggplant is not only a culinary work of art but also a budget-friendly delight. Priced at a modest $12, this small plate packs a punch of flavors. The crispy panko breaded eggplant layered over a blend of olive tapenade and marinara, with fresh spinach, crumbled feta and parmesan, and embellished with a balsamic reduction.
1965 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293
Phone: (941) 445-4755
Lucarelli’s brings a slice of Italian heaven to Venice, Florida with their exquisite Burrata Caprese, priced at $17. This dish is a harmonious blend of fresh, creamy burrata and the finest tomatoes available, sitting on a bed of peppery arugula. The fresh basil adds a fragrant touch, while the zest of lemon infuses a bright citrus note. Drizzled with the finest extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic, each element comes together to create a Caprese that’s both traditional and refreshingly new. It’s a lush, rich twist on the classic that’s both indulgent and refreshing.
Trattoria Da Mino
335 W Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285
Phone: (941) 800 – 4466 | (941) 800 – 4866
Trattoria Da Mino offers a timeless taste of Italy with their Caprese Classica, reasonably priced at $14.56 for a whole serving or $7.80 for half. This dish celebrates the classic Caprese salad, traditionally revered for its fresh flavors that embody the essence of Italian cuisine. At Trattoria Da Mino, the Caprese Classica is a beloved staple, inviting diners to indulge in the simplicity and excellence of fresh ingredients, a hallmark of true Italian cooking
Making It At Home: The Ingredients
Before we dive into the making of this salad, let’s talk about ingredients. A traditional Caprese requires just a few components, but each must be the best in its class: Check out the Venice Farmer’s Market for fresh produce, oils, vinegars and even the mozzarella!
- Tomatoes: Choose them ripe and juicy, with a vibrant red hue that promises flavor.
- Mozzarella: Opt for fresh, soft mozzarella that oozes with creamy goodness.
- Basil: Fresh basil leaves, aromatic and bright green, are non-negotiable for that herby kick.
- Olive Oil: Drizzle generously with the finest local olive oil for a touch of fruity richness.
- Balsamic Vinegar: A dash of aged balsamic vinegar from Venice Olive Oil Co. adds a sweet and tangy finish.
- Seasoning: A pinch of salt and pepper to bring all the flavors together.
There is a wonderful company that sells olive oil in Venice, along with oils and vinegars as well. Venice Olive Oil Co. is a specialty grocery store located on Venice Avenue. Visit their website for more information, including ordering any of their fabulous products!
Can I Use A Ready Made Balsamic Glaze instead of making a reduction?
This is always an option if you need to take a shortcut. I love using regular Balsamic Vinegar to make my own reduction simply because there are so many varieties available locally that have flavor infusions to change things up. If you go to their store, you’ll find flavors such as:
- Cinnamon Pear
- Raspberry and Wild Raspberry
- Red Apple
- Cara Cara Orange Vanilla
- Cranberry Pear
- Key Lime
- Dark Chocolate
- Neopolitan Herb
- Sicilian Lemon
- Thai Lemongrass
- Vermont Maple
Which flavor would pair best with this recipe?
My favorite with the Caprese would be either the Sicilian Lemon or the Neopolitan Herb. The flavors pair so well with the brightness of the basil and fresh tomatoes.
Crafting the Perfect Caprese
Assembling a Caprese salad is an art form in itself. Start by slicing the tomatoes and mozzarella to perfection, ensuring each piece is a mirror image of the other. Then, layer them in a colorful stack, alternating between red, white, and green. It’s a nod not only to the Italian flag but to the balance of flavors and textures that make this dish a classic.
Once your tower of freshness is built, it’s time for the crowning glory. A generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar transforms the salad from simple to sublime. The oil, with its velvety texture and grassy notes, complements the creamy mozzarella, while the balsamic vinegar introduces a touch of acidity and sweetness that elevates the ripe tomatoes to new heights.
Recipe: Classic Caprese Salad
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 12 oz. fresh mozzarella large ball
- 1 large bunch fresh basil washed and dried
- 3 T. really good extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste
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