Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Caprese Sandwich

I've been waiting all year for fresh local tomatoes so I could enjoy what has become my absolute, number one favorite sandwich, the caprese. Based on the insalata caprese from the Campania region of Italy, the caprese sandwich is the ultimate example of how a few high quality ingredients can be combined simply to make something truly fantastic. All you need to make this amazing sandwich is a good loaf of crusty, chewy Italian style bread, some tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (preferably mozzarella di bufala), fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, and some salt and fresh ground pepper.

The key to this sandwich is making sure that you use the best possible ingredients, and that means waiting all year long until the end of summer when you can get the freshest, most delicious tomatoes at the peak of their season. Don't even think about trying to make this with bland, mealy, refrigerated supermarket tomatoes in the middle of winter, you'll regret it. Plus, that extra long wait makes the sandwich that much more special when you finally do have one, and the good thing is, we are in the peak of the tomato season right now! As soon as you're done reading this, I suggest you go get yourself some. Pair the sandwich with a simple salad and a glass of wine and you've got an amazingly light, refreshing, and incredibly tasty summer meal.

Start with a good loaf of crusty bread, like rustic bread, and cut it in half lengthwise. Ciabatta also works nicely for this sandwich. You don't want to use a narrow loaf here, like a baguette, choose something that is at least 4 to 5 inches wide.

Wash and slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Slice the mozzarella as well.

Pick some fresh basil leaves off of their stems, rinse and dry them. Get out your best extra virgin olive oil.

Generously drizzle the olive oil over both halves of the bread. Layer the mozzarella slightly overlapping and completely covering one half of the loaf.

Layer the tomatoes over the mozzarella, and sprinkle generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Top the tomatoes with a layer of basil leaves.

Top the sandwich with the other half of the bread, slice carefully into pieces, and enjoy!


Caprese Sandwich
15 minutes - Serves 2 to 4 as a meal depending on appetite
  • One large loaf of crusty bread (not baguette, something wider)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • about 4 medium size balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes (whichever variety you prefer), rinsed and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 10 to 20 leaves of fresh basil, stemmed, rinsed and dried
  • kosher salt (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • fresh ground black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  1. Slice the bread in half lengthwise
  2. Generously drizzle olive oil over both halves of the bread
  3. Layer one side of the bread with the mozzarella slices, slightly overlapping and completely covering the bread
  4. Layer the tomatoes over the mozzarella
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes, add more or less to taste
  6. Top the tomatoes with a layer of basil
  7. Place the other half of the bread on top, press down slightly and carefully slice the sandwich into as few as 2 or as many as 8 slices (and smaller and it's hard to slice/eat without the sandwich falling apart)


Sunny said...

first of all i have to say what a lovely shot you got of the sandwich. and second i must say how i love the simplicty of this recipe. you just can't go wrong with fresh, lovely ingreidents.

Bentoist said...

A delicious recipe meets a creative idea, with simple execution. It doesn't get any better than that. Thank you for sharing. I will try that for my bentos sometime!

Anonymous said...

wow...amazing looking light sandwich!