I really wasn't sure if I should post this recipe because this salad is so easy it's not necessary to even have a recipe. But I guess the truth is I just wanted to show off the buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella de bufala campana) and tomatoes that Yo carried all the way from Milan. I am truly blessed with friends like Yo who carry such presents across the seas for me. Then there's Su too, who gave me excellent parma ham from her recent Med cruise. I got the message: they wanted an Italian meal. And so Yo, Su and their families came over for a Sunday lunch of insalata caprese, pizzas (I only make two types now, rocket parma ham pizzas and olives, mushrooms, peppers and anchovies pizzas), veal sausages, a rose chiffon cake that turned out even better than the first one I made, green tea konyakku jelly and sweet, crunchy nangka from my garden (K, all the fruits from my tree were tons better than the one you had when you were here).
Su said my pizzas were "better than Little Italy's" (to which I protested, arrogantly) so she upped the accolade to "pizzas I ate in Florence". I love my friends. But if you try out my recipe, you'll know if Su told the truth.
Note the rings on her fingers ("At our age, bigger is better").
Yo's insalata caprese is an elegant restaurant-style version of overlapping layers of cheese, basil leaves (plucked screaming from my garden) and tomatoes (which were not ripe enough), doused with EVOO and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. It was such a hit! I was hoping that the kids wouldn't want their share but no such luck with our bunch of kids. Wey, who had never had buffalo mozz before (hotel buffet mozz don't count), is now crazy about it.
Yo left a single ball of mozz for me which became my lunch the next day. My version is like me, random and a little crazy: carelessly cut tomatoes, torn basil leaves and mozz flavored with lots of EVOO and freshly ground black pepper. However, next time I will snip the mozz into thick chunks because tearing them makes them stripey and thin. There's nothing like biting into a chunky piece of springy milk-flavored buffalo mozz soaked with milky liquid.
We had a great time, and I look forward to more Sunday lunches such as that. Which really means I hope Yo reads this and gets the hint.
fresh basil leaves
ripe sweet tomatoes (I prefer the big cherry tomatoes)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
lots of extra virgin olive oil
--either slice or cut mozz into chunks, same with the tomatoes. Put everything on a plate and sprinkle lightly with the sea salt and pepper and drizzle with lots of EVOO.