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what goes well with a caprese insalata?

im making a high end appetizer for my new gf who is a chef, im just 3 weeks into my culinary school... im thinking of a caprese insalata with a balsamic reduction, what else should i put on a plate, im also using a rectangular plate =D suggestions pls!

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  1. I find caprese to be a less is more dish. Use high quality ingredients. Another twist I like from Real simple magazine. Sub peaches for the tomatoes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: melpy

      I love that idea. Imo, Marc Bittman was the first one to urge people to mix tomatoes and peaches, just divine and so seasonal. I do like to keep it simple mix tomatoes and peaches, good mozzarella(burrata if you can find it)salt and corsely ground pepper and the best olive oil you can afford. I think that there is some debate whether or not to add vinegar.Vinegar is not often used in Italy in their caprese salad. I have heard that they cautiously add vinegar to cheese.

    2. I've only eaten a Caprese as a starter, in Italy (one occasion in Capri). It's never been more than mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil.

      For me, put anything else on the plate and it's no longer a Caprese buit a cheese, tomato and whatever salad.

      1. What Harters said, but with one addition... some lovely crusty bread so you can sop up the lovely tomato olive oil juice that collects at the bottom of the serving plate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smtucker

          Bread is so much of a given in my eating habits that I usually forget to mention it. But you do right to mention it.

        2. Please, do not serve the caprese with a balsamic reduction; it will only overpower and hide the taste of the buttery fresh mozzarella and heirloom-quality tomatoes (both of which I hope you are using!). I detest when a restaurant serves a caprese with balsamic; especially when not stated on the menu. The best extra virgin olive oil you can find and flakes of Maldon sea salt are all you need to dress this dish, in my opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ttoommyy

            Yeah, I've long ago stopped using anything but great olive oil, Maldon sea salt & some fresh cracked black pepper on my fresh bufflo mozz.

            If I don't have great tomatoes, it's just the mozza with the oil, s&p and fresh basil.

          2. guys any idea, on what dish most preferably appetizer goes well with the caprese insalata, i just use the balsamic reduction to put adittional color, flavor, as well as looks awesome when plated out,

            12 Replies
            1. re: vagician

              Are you asking for another appetiser to go with the Caprese appetiser? Personally, I would only want one starter.

              If I was doing the full Italian meal thing, then I'd be following the Caprese with a pasta dish, then the main course, then dessert.

              1. re: Harters

                "Personally, I would only want one starter. If I was doing the full Italian meal thing, then I'd be following the Caprese with a pasta dish, then the main course, then dessert."

                Agree 100%.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  all im asking is what app dish goes well with caprese insalata on the same plate

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        That wasn't necessarily meant as a joke.

                        One of my favorite Italian restaurants serves both their antipasti & their pasta family-style. On big plates.

                        We often get a caprese as well as something else -- their incredible tuna carpaccio (topped with fried capers) or vitello tonnato comes to mind.

                        Both (or three, if we feel gluttonous enough) will be served on a large plate, and this hasn't managed to make either or any of the antipasti taste less fab.

                        It's all about quality ingredients and presentation.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Sorry! The idea of seafood and a rich, creamy fresh mozzarella on the same plate is something one would rarely if ever see in Italy. Didn't mean to offend! :)

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            Depends on the size of the plate, I guess. Or whether one orders two antipasti '-)

                    1. re: vagician

                      As upthread, I've never seen another dish served on the same plate as a Caprese. A well made Caprese needs no second dish on the plate and anything you do put on the plate will detract from the Caprese.

                      Put some mismatch in front of the new chef gf and she will draw her own conclusions about your food skills. Similarly, if you serve her a well made Caprese using the best of ingredients, she will draw very different conclusions.

                      Your call.

                      1. re: vagician

                        "all im asking is what app dish goes well with caprese insalata on the same plate"

                        And we (those who responded) all seem to agree... nothing!

                        You came here for advice and the overwhelming advice is that caprese should stand alone. NOTHING ELSE ON THE PLATE. :)

                  1. re: vagician

                    "i just use the balsamic reduction to put adittional color, flavor, as well as looks awesome when plated out,"

                    Sorry, I just don't agree. Color??? The caprese salad is white, green and red for a reason... the Italian flag! To each his own though. Buon appetito!

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      instead of balsamic, which is a travesty on this dish, make a basil oil and just put some dots on the plate if you want more color. krap restaurants put balsamic on everything because their food lacks flavor.

                      your caprese is the app. there shouldn't be anything else on the plate.

                  2. What if you just did two versions of the caprese?
                    Maybe one as a small tomato hollowed out with motz and basil inside as a one awesome bite and the other as a stack?
                    Or a shooter of fresh tomato/basil chilled soup with cubed motz garnish?
                    The same but, ya know, not.

                    1. I'm with those who feel that Caprese salad needs nothing but (of course) some great crusty bread.

                      If I were for some reason determined or obliged to have anything else alongside it, for concurrent consumption, I'd think of contrasty textures/flavors. Something light and fried, like zucchini blossom. Or something palate cleansing, like shaved radish or thinly sliced cucumber with a spiced syrup or balsamico traditionale. Slices of peach. Apples with shaved parmigiano and/or prosciutto.

                      1. I'm with the others who say forget the balsamic. Good olive oil, good salt and pepper, fresh basil leaves. Done.

                        1. I agree with others that Caprese is about quality, simplicity, and no vinegar, but OTOH some tomato and acid combinations are really good. You could sort of deconstruct it. There is a local restaurant here the does a plate of mixed heirloom tomatoes, halved, drizzled with a light citronette, grey salt, and a chiffonade of black basil. You could rim the plate with slices from a crusty baguette, drizzle them with olive oil, and place fanned slices of buffalo mozzarella to one side...sort of a deconstructed Caprese where the acid and cheese don't collide. I'd omit the pepper.

                          1. how about i add, pesto and parma ham?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: vagician

                              I would make basil oil, blanch and chock the basil, blend with neutral oil and season, cook 30 seconds infuse for a day and strain through a cheese cloth. It will be the most beautiful shade of green. I personally don't like vinegar in this dish but I can see its appeal. Do not use regular balsamic vinegar or reduced, use a white balsamic vinegar instead. I would also suggest using balsamic vinegar pearls. I really don't think Parma ham belongs on this dish, unless you make an antipasto plater with other components as well ie roasted or marinated veg, olives... I hate the idea that pork makes everything taste better! If you want to impress you should concentrate on technique, go a little outside the box. I bet a roasted tomato oil would be delicious as well, tomatoes two ways. Use the most amazing heirloom tomatoes, fresh burrata...let the ingredients shine.