Ina Garten's Top Tip For Crafting A Beautiful Caprese Salad

Ina Garten smiling at camera
Ina Garten smiling at camera - Noam Galai/Getty Images

The simple arrangement of fresh tomato and mozzarella adorned with basil, salt, and olive oil is a juicy, refreshing treat straight from Italy. A hit at any gathering, or when enjoyed by yourself, a Caprese salad is always one to be devoured. While you may not care too much how your own salad looks, presentation is key when serving the dish to others.

If the look of your dish leaves room for improvement, allow Ina Garten to show you how to make it great. In an Instagram post, the Barefoot Contessa discusses what it takes to get an ideal-looking Caprese salad. Garten says that by using tomatoes and mozzarella that are of the same diameter, the salad appears neater. She also suggests cutting both your cheese and tomato slices about ½ inch thick.

"You want the thickness of each — the tomatoes and the mozzarella — to be about the same so they look very orderly," says Garten in the video. Her other tip for the perfect presentation? Using plates that complement the circular shape of the tomatoes and mozzarella. "The other thing I like to do is if I have round food, I like to put it on a square plate. I just think it looks better."

Read more: 14 Tips You Need To Make The Ultimate Pasta Salad

Follow These Tips For The Perfect Caprese Salad

Caprese salad on black plate
Caprese salad on black plate - Carlosgaw/Getty Images

Unless you roast the tomatoes before plating, Caprese salads are made with uncooked ingredients. The freshness of the raw tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil are the cornerstone of a high-quality salad. If you can, opt for locally-grown tomatoes that are ripe and flavorful without being too watery. You can also choose different varieties of tomatoes, as long as they're the same in diameter, to add colors to the salad.

Mozzarella can also have a problem with excreting too much liquid; keep it at room temperature and dab the slices with paper towel to avoid this. When shopping for the mozzarella, choose the highest-quality you can find. The same goes for the basil you choose. Smaller leaves are typically packed with more flavor, giving your salad a sweet, peppery taste.

To really enhance the flavor of your Caprese salad, also try Giada De Laurentiis' trick for sweeter tomatoes. Grill them in oil and salt for 20 minutes and plate them while they're still hot, allowing the mozzarella to delicately melt onto the sweetened slabs of tomato.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.