Chef Rocco DiSpirito's recipe for caprese salad from the island of Capri boasts basil, said to stimulate the sex drive, and plump ripe tomatoes (not called "love apples" for nothing). When you make it for your beloved, Rocco says, your fate will be sealed on the spot. They will forever be putty in your olive oil-smeared hands.
The centerpiece of the salad is, of course, mozzarella cheese. Maria Ercolano, who was originally taught by her mother, Margherita Ferraro, and has been making mozzarella for decades, showed Rocco how to make fresh mozzarella for this dish.
Though not many people can or want to make their own mozzarella, learning how taught Rocco to savor the subtle nuances of the cheese. Using his Super Olive Oil allows the dish to be more about the taste of the mozzarella than a vehicle to carry the flavour of the olive oil.
3 large ripe tomatoes, heirloom if possible
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced ¼ inch thick
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, stems removed
4 tablespoons Super Olive Oil (get the recipe here)
Slice the tomatoes into 16 even ½-inch-thick slices. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Top each with a slice of mozzarella, then season again lightly with salt and pepper.
Arrange 4 tomato and cheese slices overlapping on each of 4 small salad plates and scatter the basil on top. Drizzle each plate with 1 tbsp Super Olive Oil.