It’s food heresy to tinker with the three perfect elements of a Caprese salad, but I felt I had to, because the tomatoes I bought yesterday weren’t very alluring. Although they fell short of being mealy on the inside, they were neither sweet nor acidic, but somewhere in between, with a top note of tasteless. So I dollied up the dish with some paper-fine chorizo slices, a handful of caperberries, salt, pepper and basil oil, left it to stand for an hour so the salt could draw out the juices, and then fell on it like starving wolf.
|Tomato, Mozzarella & Chorizo Salad with Caperberries.
Plate by David Walters.
I’m going to make this again because I love the smoky taste of the chorizo with tomatoes, basil and cheese, and because it’s so easy to fling together.
Use ordinary capers if you don’t have caperberries and, if you can afford it, an authentic milky-soft mozzarella, not the bog standard supermaket variety. If you can’t find pre-sliced chorizo leaves like the ones in the pictures, buy a whole sausage and asked the staff at the supermarket deli counter to cut it very thinly on their magic slicing machine.
|Leaving the salad to sit for an hour allows the flavours to mingle|
I am going to make a vast platter of this as a starter next time I have friends over for a feast. I haven’t thrown a long, lazy weekend lunch since… well, I can’t remember when last I cooked for a crowd. It’s been such a cold and wet winter here in Cape Town, and I haven’t felt in the mood. It’s not that I mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing a feast – it’s the clearing up and the staggering price of food and booze that puts me off.
How often do you have lunch parties? How much do they cost you? Tell me in a comment!
Tomato, Mozzarella & Chorizo Salad with Caperberries
4 large, ripe tomatoes
12 large, thin slices chorizo sausage
12 slices mozzarella
16 caperberries, or 4 Tbps (60 ml) capers
a small bunch of young basil
6 Tbsp (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
half a lemon
milled black pepper
Arrange the tomato, chorizo and mozzarella slices on a platter in overlapping circles, and strew the caperberries and half the basil over the top (use the smaller leaves).
Put the remaining basil leaves into a mortar and add a pinch of flaky sea salt. Pound the leaves to a paste, then stir in 3 Tbsp (45 ml) of the olive oil.
Place little dabs of the basil oil all over the salad. Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, and spritz the salad with lemon juice, to taste. Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper, and set aside, covered, on the counter top for an hour.
Serve with bread.
Serves 4 as a starter; 2 as a salad.