This Caprese Salsa is an Italian twist on salsa. It is great served with whole grain pita chips or as a topping for bruschetta!
Ready in 10 minutes
I have a theory about gardening and cooking: things that grow well together go well together. I thinking being a gardener makes cooking so much easier, not only because there is a constant supply of fresh fruits and veggies on hand, but also because to make a delicious dish, all you have to do is take whatever is coming off in that moment and put it together—chances are, you’ll end up with something delicious. I rarely follow recipes in the summer. I mostly just throw everything I’ve harvested from the garden into a skillet and hope for the best!
I don’t know for sure if the fact that food flavor combinations tend to grow well together is nature or nurture, but I have a feeling nature has something to do with it. How else could you explain that some of the best flavor combinations also happen to be some of the best companion plantings? Us organic gardeners live and die by companion planting—planting certain plants near others to help fight bad bugs and diseases—and some of the most classic flavor combos can be traced back to companion planting. Dill planted with cucumbers helps make the cukes sweeter and helps fight off cucumber beetles (and makes for delicious pickles and tzatziki sauce). Peas and early potatoes thrive planted together, and they also happen to make one of my favorite springtime side dishes when fried up in a little butter. And, maybe the most common of the companion planting combos, tomatoes and basil are made to grow together and be eaten together. Basil improves the flavor of tomatoes and helps them grow big and strong. And it means that when your tomatoes start to come off, you’ll also have plenty of big, green leaves of fresh basil to make all kinds of Italian wonders in the kitchen.
I stopped counting our basil plants a few years back—but we have a lot. We usually start at least 30 seedlings of basil in the winter, and try to plant one basil plant with every tomato plant. Which means we will never, ever run out of pesto in this house. And we pretty much put the stuff in every single meal during summer. Margherita pizza, fresh spaghetti sauce, egg sandwiches, sorbet, tomato soup. The newest addition to our repertoire of basil recipes—this caprese salsa.
This dip is a fun fusion of Italian flavors and a Mexican method. I dipped whole grain pita chips in the salsa, but you could also use this as a topping on bruschetta. Just put it on some garlic-rubbed slices of crusty bread, and then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt and the topping is warm. Yum!