Insalata caprese (meaning, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish. I first experienced how delicious mangos in a caprese salad could be while enjoying a Thursday night (a.k.a. “little Friday”) get together with friends at a neighboring café that serves up authentic Italian slow food. The great thing about this salad is that you can throw it together in minutes. Though, because this salad is so simple, top-quality ingredients are imperative. Look for the most aromatic tomatoes you can get your hands on, a large ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala), basil and a sweet mango. With the magic of a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, you have the perfect laissez-faire starter. Just serve this with a fresh baguette and a glass of rosé wine and voila. Perfection.
Buying mangos is sometimes like buying avocado’s – full of surprise. Sometimes they are so amazingly perfect and other times, well…not. When buying a mango, make sure it is firm yet not rock hard, otherwise it is under ripe and will taste too sour. It should also not be too overripe, otherwise it will not hold it form and will turn into a pulpy mess in your salad. Tasty nonetheless! So no need to fret, this “mango insalata caprese” salad will still have a lovely sweet flavor and taste great no matter what kind of mango you end up with.
Ever since I learned that mozzarella di bufala is significantly lower in cholesterol and higher in protein, calcium and iron I made the switch from bocconcini mozzarella made from cow’s milk. I also think it tastes better. Although it’s lower in cholesterol, it’s actually higher in fat. That and it’s lower water content, result in a better texture, with more taste and string to it.
If you can, try getting Mozzarella di Bufala with a DOP (“Protected Designation of Origin”) status. This quality assurance, guarantees that you that you are getting authentic buffalo mozzarella, made within 48 hours of the buffalos being milked.
I also suggest going easy on the balsamic, as it is wonderful experience to simply enjoy the pureness of the fresh aromatic tomatoes, the delicate flavor of the cheese and the sweetness of the mango and fresh basil. I usually drizzle a little balsamic on top and allow whoever is enjoying it alongside of me to add more if they so desire. As you wish. Enjoy!
Mango Insalata Caprese
4 large aromatic vine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 x 125 g mozzarella di bufala (bocconcini made from buffalo milk), drained, thinly sliced
1 just-ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into chunks
handful fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or more, to taste)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Arrange the tomato and bocconcini on a large serving dish, alternating and overlapping them.
2. Drizzle with oil and balsamic and season with salt and pepper. Top with the sliced mango, followed by basil leaves.