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Caprese, the ultimate example of quality ingredients creating a mind-blowing dish!

August 1, 2009

No matter how “gourmet” I like to be I love when something that takes literally two minutes can blow your mind. When you use the right ingredients a Caprese is one of those dishes! I had a perfectly ripe Brandywine heirloom tomato.IMG_0639 A ball of Buffalo Mozzarella that I let sit out for a bit to soften up so that it could barely hold its own weight. Aged balsamic, great olive oil, salt IMG_0640and basil. That’s it! One bite and you get a perfect balance of sweet, deep, wood flavored balsamic vinegar and rich peppery green olive oil. The mozzarella which almost takes the form of cream marries perfectly with the ripe, sweet, slightly acidic tomatoes. I taste two perfect marriages of “acid and fat” on the same plate that come together to create a new flavor.  After you eat it you are left with all the juices on the plate. A yummy “sauce” of the tomato juice, olive oil, balsamic and the “milk” of the cheese. We took some great bread and mopped up the juice until the plate was clean! On to the pasta course!!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret O'Brien permalink
    August 2, 2009 7:52 pm

    I ADORE Insalata Caprese. Can’t resist it when I see it on the menu even though I know I can make it a home for a fraction of what they are charging. It isn’t as if I don’t grow my own tomatoes and basil. Even if I made it myself the day before, I’ll still order it if it is offered. Sick, I know.

    IMHO, you were robbed. My sister is bummed, she just bought some Garam Masala and needs you to tell her what to do with it (don’t be crass). Please hang in there, I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t wind up with an even better opportunity. You are just too good for the Food Network!

  2. August 2, 2009 11:12 pm

    it’s definitealy all about the sweet basil and olive oil meshing with the cheese and tomatoes giving you that perfect mix of salty, sweet, and acidic. This is definitely a quick, easy, and delicious starter for any occasion.
    Keep it up Jeffrey…you were clearly the best in the food network challenge…I hope to see more from you in the future Way to keep up the positive attitude..thats what makes a star shine.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:45 am

      Thank you so much Trey! I will! Warmly,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  3. Lisa permalink
    August 3, 2009 4:38 am

    Jeffery, I love your cooking. I finally understood cooking without borders last night and it’s exactly the kind of information I have been thinking about. Gotta try your yummy sandwich. All the best. Lisa

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:44 am

      Thank you Lisa! I really appreciate it! Warmly,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  4. Margaret OBrien permalink
    August 3, 2009 8:32 am

    Odd. My comments so far have never made it up here although I get feedback when I send them that looks like they did. Trying a different email address, although I doubt that matters.

    I totally agree with your comments on Insalata Caprese, I simply can’t resist it. I made a more mixed version this summer with homegrown tomatoes, basil and a new iteration (for me, I’d never seen them before) of the fresh mozzarella that was little pearl sized balls.

    I think you should hang in there, if the Food Network didn’t appreciate you, we certainly do. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t get an even better opportunity, it was obvious you have more to offer. My sister is totally bummed, she just bought some Garam Masala and was hoping you would tell her what to do with it :-).

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:43 am

      Hello Margaret. Thank you for your support and for reading my blog! I am determined to find a way onto the screen. Tell your sister to add the garam masala to a cream sauce for crepes. You can also coat chicken thighs with it and saute it or grill it. It is great on roasted potatoes. I will post some recipes. have a great day.

      • Margaret OBrien permalink
        August 4, 2009 11:01 am

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I have forwarded on your suggestions and she is thrilled. Have your blog pushing to my iPhone, the better to be informed when you get that show you so richly deserve. Food Network, bah!

  5. Chad permalink
    August 3, 2009 8:37 am

    I love a Caprese, man. It’s just pure, simple goodness. One thing I’ve done is switch out the tomatoes for my own roasted, red peppers, but leave everything else the same. I’ve even gone as far as to add the ingredients (basil, mozzarella, a few drops of balsamic and roasted red pepper) with a tad of dijon to top off a burger. Good stuff.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:38 am

      Sounds good chad 🙂

  6. Kevin permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:12 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more Jeffrey. Whenever I visit an Italian restaurant, I open the menu and immediately scan for caprese, and it is a rare visit that I don’t order it. If it’s made with mozzerella di buffala I’m ordering it for sure. Quite possibly my all time favorite dish.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:38 am

      Thank you for reading Kevin. Enjoy and take care! Jeffrey 🙂

  7. August 3, 2009 9:18 am

    WTF…..Can not believe the show last night. The best cook did not win.
    Her E Z P O T tip was lame and inaccurate. Oh well, what’s next for you?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:37 am

      Thank you for your support Kelly. I am determined to find another way onto the screen. Have a great week and thank you for reading the blog. Warmly,
      Jeffrey

  8. emma permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:39 am

    You know I’m in your corner and if FN is smart they’ll grab you and Ingredient Smuggler right up. In fact, you should trademark that if they haven’t already. I’d love to see you pop in on people like Rick Bayless and discuss how to take unusual or exotic ingredients, that most of us have never heard of, and introduce us to their interesting uses. Your cooking without borders concept is so indicative of our changing world and blending cultures. That idea and the way you describe food is why I transitioned from objective first year FN viewer to Jeffrey fan.

    In fact if FN is clueless and passes on you, or doesn’t make you an acceptable offer, I believe you’d make an excellent addition to the Travel Channel. Your family seems very supportive and if you’re all up for some remote filming and adventures (in or out of the USA), then I wish you the opportunity.

    By the way, I found I can buy Harissa red pepper paste at Whole Foods, any middle-eastern deli or order it from a variety of sources online. I’m picking some up today.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:37 am

      Hello emma. Thank you for your ongoing support! I love it all. I am in 🙂 have a great week. Jeffrey 🙂

  9. Denise permalink
    August 3, 2009 1:45 pm

    HI!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. The Food Network is CRAZY. My 4 year old could have made Melissa’s recipe – I liked her, but come on. We already have Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee on there, don’t insult me any more. Yes, I am a wife and mother who works – but I like FOOD. Not watered down stuff.

    I loved your ‘show’ last night. And may trying to find Harrissa [sp?] in my local stores – you inspired me.

    Good luck in your next adventure. I will be following your blog for sure…

    🙂

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:35 am

      Thank you Denise,
      I really appreciate the support. Thanks for checking out my blog. You should be able to find Harissa in your grocery store. If not you can order it on line at http://www.kalustyans.com Take care! Jeffrey 🙂

  10. August 3, 2009 1:49 pm

    Jeffrey: Have you ever tried urfa biber?

    It’s a turkish smokey ground pepper, which I’m having a hard time trying to find even in NYC or the WWW. Any ideas?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 4, 2009 6:33 am

      Hello Bill, I have not. I have something new to try! I am sure they have it at Kalustyans on 123 Lexington. You can also order on line at http://www.kalustyans.com Take care.

  11. August 4, 2009 7:13 am

    Jeffrey — I’ve always loved a good Caprese, but I’ve never been able to articulate the why of it half so well as you. Simple and wonderful. I’m tempted to chase down some mozzarella and ripe tomatoes right now.

    It’s been a real pleasure watching you on TNFNS, and you’ve got a fan in me wherever you end up going.

  12. August 5, 2009 12:52 pm

    Jeffrey — I’ve always loved a good Caprese, but I’ve never been able to articulate the why of it half so well as you. Simple and wonderful. I’m tempted to chase down some mozzarella and ripe tomatoes right now.

    It’s been a real pleasure watching you on TNFNS, and you’ve got a fan in me wherever you end up going.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 5, 2009 4:39 pm

      Thank you Kat! Enjoy! I hope to continue to bring you worthwhile eating adventures.
      Warmly,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  13. August 6, 2009 7:22 pm

    wow!!! Your Caprese looks great..
    i would love to try one of those…

    while reading this post,
    how i imagine the aroma of your dish
    and its picture posted on this blog..

    i really want to dig in..honestl.

    😀

    next time, i’ll ask my mom to take me on an Italian restaurant
    and i’m going to order caprese.

    mmmmmmm…

    good work jeffrey..

  14. August 26, 2009 5:07 am

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post.
    Fruit Powders

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