Caprese salad

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Nina Parker's Caprese salad is served with a punchy anchovy dressing, giving this classic mozzarella, basil and tomato salad an elevated twist. The key to this dish lies in the quality of the tomatoes, so only attempt this when they are perfectly ripe and juicy for the best possible flavour.

First published in 2016

This the salad of all tomato salads. There are many stories that date back to 1920 regarding this recipe, one of which mentions a version appearing in bread. Perhaps the most memorable is the story of King Farouk, the notorious gourmand, who asked for something light and refreshing as an appetiser at the Capri hotel, Quisisana. On his request, he was given a sandwich stuffed with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. This sandwich later evolved into the classic tomato and mozzarella salad that is now served all over the world. Early on, cow’s milk mozzarella was used in the salad but these days it is often made with Campania’s buffalo milk. This salad is unmistakably Italian thanks to the colours representing the nation’s flag. Even though I adore the classic version, I find this one a little more memorable with its punchy dressing.

Recipes from NINA Capri by Nina Parker, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 2 June 2016 in hardback at £25, eBook £12.99

Food photography: Paul Winch-Furness

Location photography: Ivar Wigan




Caprese salad

  • 225g of golden cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 200g of vine tomatoes, quartered
  • 150g of kumato tomatoes, dark green variety, sliced
  • 1 handful of tarragon leaves, torn
  • 1 handful of basil leaves, torn, plus extra to garnish
  • 100g of spelt, toasted, or rye croutons
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella, approximately 200g, torn


  • 1/2 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, aged if possible
  • lemon juice, a few drops
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


To begin, make the dressing. Crush the garlic and anchovies together on a chopping board using the back of a heavy, broad knife
When it has reached a paste consistency, place in a small bowl with the remaining ingredients for the dressing. Mix well
Place all of the salad ingredients (except the mozzarella) in a large bowl, pour in half of the dressing and toss well
Divide the salad between plates and top with the torn mozzarella, the remaining dressing and some extra basil leaves. Serve immediately

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Nina Parker is a London based chef, author and director of her own catering company, NINA Food. Her latest book is Nina Capri, a collection of recipes from Italy's Amalfi coast.

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