Since I’m not a cheese fan, I’m not the one who ever would order the caprese salad. However, I have always appreciated the beautiful simplicity of seeing a few perfect ingredients stacked and served. If the two or three ingredients are of the highest, freshest quality, then it’s culinary proof that less is more. A classic caprese consists of sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. I wanted to infuse some other flavors, colors, and textures while preserving the feel of this layered classic. Watermelon in a summer salad is always a good move. Bright, crisp, pretty, and refreshing. I loved the idea of building on the theme by using sliced watermelon radishes. Cute right? Using mesclun lettuce tied in the hints of deep pink. Sliced fresh mozzarella that I bought pre sliced at my local gourmet market (I wasn’t wrestling with cheese), and fresh whole basil and mint leaves plucked from my garden. I added the mint for another hit of summer freshness. I made this salad composed on top of the greens to honor each of the components since they’re all so gorgeous, as well as to respect the essence of a caprese. I often serve salads on a curved platter instead of a bowl so I can layer it beautifully like this. Honestly this took five minutes and was delicious and so visually appealing. Just drizzle with your favorite quality balsamic. Since balsamic bleeds, you can always have your guests take and then have a vinegar dispenser on hand so they can do as much or as little drizzling as preferred.
Four cups of mesclun greens
Two to three cups of cubes of fresh watermelon (save time and mess by buying precut only if it’s super fresh)
Presliced watermelon radishes (my produce store does this for me but if yours doesn’t then buy four and peel and slice)
At least a dozen slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
Around 20 each fresh whole basil and mint leaves
Place the greens on the bottom and distribute evenly across the platter. Make rows of alternating watermelon, cheese, and radishes. I stuck whole basil leaves in between each slice of mozzarella, and whole mint leaves in between each slice of radish. That beautiful orchid came with my lettuce and was the perfect accessory for a tropical feel; use a well placed summery flower if you can find one as a pretty focal point. Serve then drizzle with good quality balsamic vinegar. Tip; keep all ingredients cold in fridge until it’s time to platter and serve. This salad needs to be cool and crisp; we are going for beachy/poolside vibes .