In honor of the begining of summer, today you get two recipes for the price of one. Both are great salads you can serve either as antipasti or as a primo, or first course. Onward... Now, if you can find KOSHER Mozzarella di Bufala, I applaud you! I could not and I live in area where the Bufala is readily available. It might be sacrilege to my fellow Partenopei, but I used a locally produced (Kosher) Fresh Mozzarella. No, it’s probably NOT as good as the Bufala but at least it’s not Treif! If you are not Jewish, or don’t care about Kosher, USE THE MOZZARELLA DI BUFALA!
Insalata Caprese – Tomato & Mozzarella Salad of Capri
1 pound/500 grams of Mozzarella (di Bufala if you are not keeping Kosher)
1 pound/500 grams of Vine Ripened Tomatoes
1 bunch of Fresh Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Wash the tomatoes and cut out the green spot. Set the tomatoes on their sides and slice lengthwise so that they are about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat the slicing process with the Mozzarella. Wash the Basil and pat dry. Chop or tear the Basil into small pieces. Layer the salad on a large plate alternating between tomato and cheese. Drizzle the salad with the olive oil; add a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chopped basil. Serve chilled but NOT too cold as this takes away from the flavors.
Serves: 4 Total Time: 10 min
This next insalata is a favorite of la Mamma. I am not sure why it is called Russian Salad; perhaps they brought it to Italy and forgot to take it back? In any case, if you are not a fan of the tuna (like my sister) leave it out. The salad is equally as tasty without it. I included it in the salad I made for visiting friends yesterday.
Insalata Russa - Russian Salad
Ingredients:2 Eggs, boiled
3/4 pound New Potatoes, peeled (optional), boiled and cut in quarters
1 cup French Green Beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup Fresh (or Frozen) Peas
1 cup Fresh Carrots, diced or julienned
5 oz-150 grams of Albacore Tuna packed in Olive Oil, drained (optional)
4 tablespoons of Mayonnaise, recipe follows
2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon juice
1 clove crushed garlic
4 Pickles, diced
8 olives, Black or Green, cut in half
1 tablespoon Capers
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Dill, chopped plus a bit more for garnish
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and boil for about 4 minutes. Set aside. In another saucepan, cook the potatoes until they are tender but not soft. Drain and set aside. Do the same for the peas, green beans, and carrots. Ensure the vegetables are not overcooked; they should be tender but NOT mushy. Meanwhile, dice the pickles herbs, and olives.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, crushed garlic, herbs, and tuna, if using. After the vegetables have cooled for about ten minutes, add them to the mayonnaise mixture along with the pickles, capers, and olives. Blend all ingredients together gently. Top with the sliced boiled eggs and a bit of dill. Serve at room temperature.
Serves: 4 Total Time: about 50 minutes
Maionese – Basic Mayonnaise
2 Egg Yolks
3 -4 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Pepper, to taste
Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Using a hand mixer or food processor, add a bit of the lemon juice and process until combined. With the motor still running, gradually add the olive oil, a few drops at a time, until it begins to form a thick emulsion. Add the remaining oil in a very thin, slow stream until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture is thick. Add lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper (if desired). If it seems a bit too thick, thin it with a bit of water. If you are concerned about salmonella, look for pasteurized eggs.