When you're dropping by restaurants in Monterey, California, it would be good to understand what exactly is going into your dish so you can appreciate it more. Among the more popular ones that you should be paying attention to is the Caprese salad. A classic seaside dish, originally from the island of Capri in Italy, it's a simple and popular meal to enjoy by the coast.
Here's what a good Caprese should have:
- Ripe tomatoes. Fresh, ripe tomatoes are a large part of a Caprese salad. They impart a freshness to the salad, and are the core of the dish and its flavor. At Cafe Fina restaurant on Fishermans Wharf, owner Dominic Mercurio grows his own seasonal tomatoes and picks them ripe for use in his famous dishes.
- Mozzarella. Milky and chewy, they provide a counterpoint to the acidity of the tomatoes. A liberal sprinkling gives the salad a unique flavor.
- Basil. The herb that pulls it all together. Large fresh basil leaves are the green part of the salad and give it an aromatic scent.
- Balsamic, Olive Oil, and Salt. The topping of balsamic vinegar and salt are the dressing for the salad. Drizzled olive oil add to the salad's aroma and provides a peppery aftertaste.
- Anchovies. You're by the coast and anchovies are a perfect addition to the salad, whether as whole or minced. The salty flavor complements the dressing additions.