Food Memories – Summer Italian Fare

Caprese salad by Mary Susan

June 26, 2012

If I were to ask you about some of your favorite food memories, what would you fondly remember? For me, I would have to go back to 1972 when I was with my family in the Lake District of Italy where I tasted a Caprese salad for the very first time. The combination of virgin olive oil with perfectly ripened tomatoes, homemade buffalo mozzarella cheese, fresh basil with sea salt and pepper made me swoon. Even now, when I enjoy this salad it takes me back to an afternoon on a hotel terrace in Lago Maggiore with my family.

Since then, I have been serving up versions of this delicious dish, sometimes adding black olives and red onions to the mix or freshly sliced oranges or arugula. This Fourth of July holiday, consider pairing this dish with grilled chicken, corn on the cob and Italian potato salad. In your Caprese salad, you may want to try some different tomato varieties. Along with roma or heirlooms, check out green zebra or Cherokee Purple for a change of pace. You can be creative!

Sometimes living beautifully is recreating your favorite food memories and sharing them with the special people in your life.

Mary Susan’s recipe for Caprese Salad 

  • Sliced tomatoes of any variety
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Virgin Olive Oil, room temperature
  • Black olives, pitted (optional)
  • Red onions (optional)


Slice tomatoes and layer with mozzarella cheese.

Add fresh basil leaves tucked in-between the two or cut with scissors and sprinkle all over.

Add your favorite black pitted olives (optional), red onions (optional), sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle olive oil.

*Mary Susan’s version of Italian Potato Salad

*Note: Add quantity of ingredients to your liking.

  • Small red potatoes
  • Vert green beans (the small, narrow green bean)
  • Black Greek olives (pitted)
  • Red onion
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Virgin Olive Oil, room temperature


Cut potatoes in half and steam (I use the microwave for this); set aside

Steam the green beans; set aside

Slice the onion

Mix in all remaining ingredients with the potatoes, beans and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve at room temperature.


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