The Caprese salad is a fresh dish that's filled with mediterranean taste and light, a simple and genial recipe that's based upon a column of italian gastronomy: a dish is a good dish when you can't add or quit a single ingredient without altering the global aequilibrium. Said in another word: elegance, pure elegance. Few ingredients, but perfectly balances and choosen. It is said that nothing is more complex to obtain than simplicity, and it's really true. Simplest things may result obvious to us, because they've been created to stay with us forever with no stress at all. Simplest things are simply impossible to improve.
The history of the Insalata Caprese is not well known, but what's sure is that it appears for the first time in a 1920 menù at the Capri island's "Quisisana hotel".
It may be interesting to notice that the caprese in that occasion was a part of a so called "futurista dinner", that is a dinner based upon the principia of the artistical movement of the Futurismo. Beside painting, sculptures, etc.*, the Futurismo and its leading poet, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, wanted a radical reform of the traditional cuisine. Marinetti established the rules of the game in his "Manifesto della cucina futurista".
|View from Monte Solaro at Capri|
In his manifesto, Marinetti called for a complete erase of the pasta from the traditional cuisine, and its substitution with modern, aerodynamical, fluid and concentrated dishes. "simultaneous and shimmering bites", as Marinetti said: in the Twenties, the Futuristi already saw the molecular cuisine and Ferran Adrià's "El Bulli". The Futuristi loved the fresh and light colours, that they thought to be perfect for the modern way of life. And the very italian colours of the Caprese dish were very interesting for the nationalist european society of the Twenties.
There are other version of the birth of the caprese salad, of course. For instance, it is said that after the World War II, a mason that worked in the charming Napolitan island loved to bring the "tricolore", or the Italian flag, at work in the panini sandwich he used to eat. His creation had such a success that was imitated by the restaurants of the island, and from there the international jet set started to know the caprese salad. For instance, it is said that in the Fifties, the King Farouk loved a panini sandwich filled with mozzarella, tomato and basil.
But let's talk about the recipe of the Caprese salad! Can't be any easier!
- Fresh mozzarella
We love our Caprese with the mozzarella di Bufala, but many sources says that the original version of the salad should be done with a fresh cow mozzarella. The original recipe should be done without adding olive on it, but we can't help but pouring a drizzle of olive oil on our Caprese! You can give your own touch to your salad adding black greek olives, different kinds of tomatoes and so on. You can use also the Modena balsamic vinegar to dress it (but be careful to choose the original one!).
For the classic version of this salad, you should cut the tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella in slicesand put them in a dish, a slice of tomato and a slice of mozzarella and so on, and add basil to taste.
You can have your own Caprese in a thousand of different version! Use your own imagination! Here we bring you some ideas, like for instance a Caprese sandwich, Caprese skewer, Caprese hasselback, Caprese panini and so on!
For those interested in the artistical movement called Futurismo, keep reading! (We know that this is a cuisine blog, but you know...we can't help but talking about art! We're totally artoholic!)
* We wanted to share with you some notion about the Futurismo, a most important artistical avant garde of the early XX century. Infact, it was one of the first anti-traditional artistical movements in the Old Continent. They literally
started a frontal assault against tradition.
|Giacomo Balla, "La costellazione del Genio", 1918,|
Museo del 900, Milan
- what else?- at the Met!