I pinch the blossom heads off (dead-heading) as they appear, to help draw the strength back into the leaves. As the days grow warmer, the leaves become more potent, and by July, are ready for harvest.
Insalata Caprese Salad - Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Plate
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect.
Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle capers over the top.
Just before serving, drizzle on some top-quality extra-virgin olive oil. NOTE: Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar of any kind goes on Insalata Caprese!
Makes 4 servings.
Variation Ideas: Serve with sliced panini or French baquette
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