Monday, July 23, 2012

Caprese Salad by Chef Ryan Bergunio

MOST people usually pay more attention on how their bodies look like in summer than in any other seasons of the year. A person’s tendency to be physically conscious during summer is associated with the reason that the warm weather calls for having fun on the beach; getting a tan in their best swimsuits; and of course, eating dishes that keeps them going for the list of the day’s fun activities.

Too much exposure from the sun, however, can cause dehydration. Intake of vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, and including them with leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and other vitamin-packed dark leafy vegetables is one way of improving the hydration and nutritional value of a person’s diet.

When it comes to a refreshing summer diet, salad served cold is among the first things that come to mind.  One of the most delicious yet simplest of salads best to have this summer is the Caprese salad which originated from the region of Campania in Italy.  Ideally made out of buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper, the Caprese is preferably served as a starter and not as a side dish.

Over the years, people have come up with their own different styles of making the Italian Caprese. Some delicious adaptations include replacing the buffalo mozzarella with small balls of mozzarella cheese otherwise known as the bocconcini; and then adding buttered crostinis out of  a baguette (french loaf)  to the original recipe.

Not only is it very easy and fast to do, but the green and healthy raw ingredients of the Caprese salad provide a lot of nutritional contents beneficial to anyone who is keen on having a fit and healthy bod to show this summer. Isla Kulinarya shares with you a healthy food option that you can easily prepare this Summer-- the Caprese Salad prepared by Chef Ryan Bergunio.

Caprese Salad


2 ea french baguette (sliced & grilled or toasted)
4 oz salted butter (melted)
as needed boiling water
2 pckgs cherry tomatoes (blanched & peeled)
as needed water w/ ice
2-1 lb bocconcini
1 bunch fresh basil (chiffonade cut)
to cover extra virgin olive oil
to taste salt & pepper

  1. Sliced the bread with a bread knife ¼ inch thick.
  2. Lightly brush each slice with butter.
  3. grill or toast the crostini until crispy over low heat.
  4. Set aside in a serving bowl until ready to serve.
  5. (To peel the cherry tomatoes, boil the water in a pot.Place the cherry tomatoes in a strainer and blanch it for 15 seconds. And then shock in iced water. This would blister the skin and makes it easier to peel.)
  6. Place the peeled tomatoes, bocconcini, and basil in a bowl, and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Season it with salt & pepper.
  8. Make sure to taste before serving.
  9. Serve w/ the grilled/toasted crostinis.

Chef Ryan Bergunio

• Former Executive Chef & Executive Pastry Chef,  Lola’s Restaurant in West Hollywood
• Former Chef De Cuisine & Executive Pastry Chef at Kado Japanese Restaurant

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