Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Recipe/Ricetta - Caprese Il Tricolore

This is one of the easiest salads in the world to make, and takes its name from the Italian flag, Tricolore Italiano. The green of the flag is said to represent the hills and plains of Italia, the white is the snow-capped Alps, and the red is the blood spilled during the Italian wars of independence. Catholics will no doubt also tell you that the green is for faith, the white for hope, and the red, charity. Both are equally charming interpretations, and while each has merit, I prefer the former!

In this recipe we have the green of the wonderfully fragrant basil and the soft, ripe avocado, the white of the delicately-flavoured creamy mozzarella, and the red of delicious baby plum tomatoes...Italian of course! Like the most stylish people, it's dressed very simply - in this case, with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, and some freshly-cracked black pepper. Deliziosa!

Nutritional values per person:
Calories: 300
Carbohydrate: 10g
Protein: 23g
Fat: 21g
Sodium: 0mg
Please note that these are based on the ingredients I used - your own may be slightly different)

For two people:
250g light mozzarella (I used Galbani Santa Lucia Light in this recipe)
1 medium avocado
75g-100g baby plum tomatoes 
Fresh basil leaves
Freshly cracked black peppercorns
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, such as Gaziello Mosto Naturale Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Green salad to serve

1. Remove the mozzarella from its packaging, and rinse under cold running water. Wrap it for a few minutes in some kitchen roll, or a clean tea-towel, to remove any excess moisture.
2. In the meantime, cut the tomatoes in half, and tear any large basil leaves in half too.
3. Cut each ball of mozzarella in half, and then cut each half into slices around .5cm-1cm thick, depending on your preference.
4. Arrange the cheese, tomato and basil on a plate, alternating each piece. (The eagle-eyed among you will notice that mine don't actually start with green and end with red!) 
5. Prepare the avocado by cutting all around it lengthways with a sharp knife, then giving it a sharp twist to separate the two halves. Coax the stone out by very gently squeezing the sides of the fruit - it will soon pop out! Remove the skin from each half with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut yourself! I know it sounds as though I am trying to teach you to suck eggs but the avocado will make your hands slippery, and I would hate to think I hadn't given you forewarning!
6. Cut each half into length-wise slices and arrange on the plate, along with some salad leaves.
7. Crush a few black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, and sprinkle over the caprese, avocado and leaves.
8. Finish off with a drizzle of oil.


Buon appetito!


Jujubie said...

What a lovely looking end product. I just served the Tricolore at a BBQ and it received lots of oohs and aahhs. I suspect that a better olive oil would have enhanced the flavour more but quality olive oil is a challenge where I live. I'm looking forward to trying more of what you propose!

Nicôle said...

Thank you Ju, for your kind words and feedback!

I am so pleased you and your guests enjoyed it. If you are keen to have good olive oil, you may be able to get it mail order; there are a lot of companies which work with independent growers and farmers to bring their produce to a wider audience. Hope you manage to find some!