: Using perfectly ripe, juicy tomatoes is a must for this recipe. Using local vine ripened summer bounty that is at room temperature (not refrigerated) is recommended. You can use regular tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or those mini multicolored varieties like I have for this recipe.
2. Mozzarella :
Traditionally "mozzarella di bufala"
- i.e fresh Buffalo Mozzarella is used for this recipe. But given that its little hard to find (and expensive!), you can substitute with Cow's Mozzarella ("Fior di latte
") instead. I have used cherry sized Mozzarella for this recipe called as "Ciliegine" (pronounced as "chee-lee-eh-gee-nee"
). If you are really a strict Vegetarian, then look for Mozzarella that's made with "Vegetable rennet" (the label will say so) since regular Mozzarella uses animal rennet.
Naturally, sun grown Basil are the best and the most aromatic. Use large leaves and tear them with your hands into small pieces.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
I do not have a personal preference and use unrefined variety offered by my local Farmer's market. Use the fruitiest ones you can find. America's Test Kitchen
recommends "Columela Extra-Virgin
1. Use Arugula (also called "Rocket") leaves instead of Basil along with a pinch of dried Oregano. Or use Arugula with combination of Basil.
2. Have some "Fleur de Sel Salt" in your pantry? Use it instead of Salt.
3. You can add about 2 tbsp of drained capers.
4. About 2 tbsp of sweet pitted black Olives (or any other that you prefer) also make for a great addition.
5. If you cannot think of a salad without Vinegar, then few drops/sloshes of Balsamic Vinegar would be an awesome addition to this.