It's hard to beat the satisfaction of a midsummer caprese salad. Break out the juiciest tomatoes and the freshest mozzarella and basil, and what you have is pretty much perfection. Can it be improved upon? Absolutely — all you need is a humble cucumber.
If you're anything like me, you basically eat your weight in juicy summer tomatoes and creamy fresh mozzarella throughout the summer months. Simple caprese salads are really all I want to eat these days, be it for a light lunch or part of a lazy picnic dinner spread. I hardly plan on getting tired of these staples anytime soon, but given the salad's simplicity, it's easy to add a little of this or that without ruining its unfussy perfection. Skinny slices of cucumber add just a little something extra that makes good ol' caprese feel new again.
Cucumbers Add Crunch and Color to Classic Caprese
It doesn't get easier than this. Cucumber slices are simply scattered among the usual caprese salad suspects: thick tomatoes slices, sliced fresh mozzarella, a handful of fresh basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and big pinch of flaky sea salt. Not only do you now have another veggie on your plate, but it also brightens up an already-vibrant dish and adds a refreshing crunch.
Cucumber Caprese Salad
Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium), sliced 1/4-inch thick
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8
large fresh basil leaves
Arrange the tomato slices in an overlapping pattern on a platter. Arrange the mozzarella and cucumbers over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces, scatter over the top, and serve immediately.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.