100 Best: #80 Insalata Caprese at Fiorentina

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100 Best: #80 Insalata Caprese at Fiorentina
A traditional salad from the Campania region of Italy, Insalata Caprese is a simple plating of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Traditionally prepared using a fresh, creamy buffalo-style Italian mozzarella cheese, it’s typically finished off with a sprinkling of course ground salt and pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Here, as in Italy, its often served as a side dish or antipasto — which is exactly how it’s prepared at Fiorentina, where you’ll find the osteria’s own variation of the dish served with the addition of red peppers and a fresh-whipped balsamic vinaigrette.
Billed as one of Fiorentina’s small plates, this appetizer dish is easily enough for two, and features a specific Italian mozzarella known as Burratina Pugliese, imported straight to your table from its city of origin, the Apulia province of Italy. The dish is perfectly executed with sliced heirloom tomatoes and roasted peppers, swimming in a dense balsamic reduction. The obscenely decadent sac of Burratina is the highlight — and centerpiece — of this dish, oozing freshness with a creamy interior too soft to slice into a more pleasing presentation.

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