Wonky heirloom Caprese salad

heirloom & cherry tomatoes

There’s a building right at the edge of North Sydney with a giant digital time and temperature display that I’m kind of obsessed with.

Every morning, as I drive past, I mentally take note of the temperature. Without fail. It’s kind of a morning ritual for me, like coffee and newspapers. I think it might be an Irish thing; as a nationality, we do tend to be unreasonably fascinated by temperature.

Take your annual summer holiday for instance; sure you couldn’t be expected to have a good foreign holiday until the mercury reaches at least 30 °C. You see, you just wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth. Sure what would be the point of leaving the country if you didn’t get pure roasted alive?!

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

Likewise, hot days at home are monitored with fascination – jaysus, the winky weatherman said it’s going to be 23 °C tomorrow! Oh holy god! I may dig out the shorts, let’s bring the kids to the beach, and ring the neighbors, we’re going to have a barbeque, god it’ll be great to get a bit of tan! – would be the typical thought process of many an Irish person on the annual day of summer.

Neither would a Skype conversation with anyone from home be complete without an enquiry about the temperature. It’s one hot topic!

So, true to my race, I check the temperature on my drive to work every morning, and think about what a mental country Australia is. Last Friday it was 19 °C at 7.03 am. I kid you not.

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

Let me just put that into context for you: at seven in the morning, in the spring, it was as warm as it sometimes ever gets in the middle of the day in Ireland in summer.

I think that means summer is officially on it’s way. Australian summer, obviously.   

To celebrate, I made a wonky heirloom Caprese salad, because nothing tastes more like sunshine than tomatoes and basil. I used some juicy heirloom tomatoes and chopped everything up so roughly, you’d swear I don’t even own a knife. Then, I sat in the back garden, soaked up some rays and enjoyed it.

Wonky heirloom Caprese salad

caprese salad with heirloom & cherry tomatoes

For this salad, I adapted a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy.

Makes enough for 4


8 balls of bocconcini (mini buffalo mozzarella balls, but you could use the larger ones either)
6 medium-size ripe heirloom tomatoes
handful of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, very finely sliced
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Splash of Apple cider vinegar

A For the dressing:

A handful of basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Splash of extra virgin olive oil

First off, Jamie recommends making the dressing. Roughly chop about three quarters of the basil, then pound the leaves in a mortar and pestle with a good pinch of salt. Add a splash of olive oil and stir well, the smell will be phenomenal.

For the salad, very roughly chop (or tear) the mozzarella and tomatoes into a large bowl or serving plate. Add the finely chopped onion and a dash of olive oil, a little vinegar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the basil dressing over the top and sprinkle on the remaining basil leaves. Serve in your back garden with a glass of sparkling white and a crusty roll of bread.

If you don’t manage to finish this salad all in one sitting (it’s unlikely, but I guess it could happen), save the leftovers and mix through hot pasta for a seriously good lunchtime treat.


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12 thoughts on “Wonky heirloom Caprese salad

    • You want a salad, but not really a salad? Love it! We all feel so obliged to eat salad it’s hilarious. Putting in loads of cheese may be a bit of a cheat but it sure tastes good! I hope you enjoy it.

    • It is beyond delicious with hot pasta, the cheese goes all melty and the basil flavours just develop the longer you leave it. It’s pretty much a two in one meal, which is a little bit genius!

      • I bet! I like to make a fast fresh tomato sauce pasta dish with fresh mozzarella, chopped tomatoes, and basil all marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic for like 30 minutes before pouring hot pasta into it and stirring. I love the melty mozzarella results. But I always spend so much time cutting everything up very finely first in an attempt to make it more “sauce”-like, rather than making an intentionally 2-in-1 salad-turned-pasta sauce… so smart!

  1. It’s so true, I do the same (I’m from Liverpool living in NZ) and look at the temperature reading in the car every morning. We went to Raro last month and I felt cheated as it didn’t get above 24C and a tropical holiday means to me, burning ones butt!

    • Ha! I know exactly what you mean! It’s hilarious how us sun-starved folk react isn’t it? I don’t think I’ll ever change either, no matter how long I live here. I hope you enjoyed Raro (it’s in the Cook Islands right?); a bit of tropical sea and sand is always nice, even if the temperature doesn’t oblige!

  2. Mmm… Beautiful looking tomatoes! I wish those kind were easy to get over here (without having to pay through the nose!). I went out today and got ingredients to make a roast veg soup as it’s definitely winter here! The warmth is seriously needed given all the frost, cold, rain, rain, frost, ice and colder cold…

    • Hi Lucy, when I first started doing this blog I toyed with the idea of not doing any seasonal recipes at all, so I could in some way align what I was eating here with what you guys would be eating at home, but I quickly realised it would be totally impossible. Roast veggie soup is one of the highlights of winter, isn’t it? And this is the time of the year that winter gets really good, with the lights and the Christmas and the food and the fires – I hope you’re beginning to enjoy it!!

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