Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella- The Caprese Sandwich

As  we move toward the final weeks of summer, I’d like to focus on one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time. Tomatoes, Basil &  Mozzarella. These three ingredients when combined are known to make magic happen.

The Caprese sandwich that we serve here on both our patient and retail menus is a simplistic work of art.  I can remember  the first time I enjoyed this combo, it was with my grandfather at an Italian restaurant in NYC called Gemelli, which was located in the courtyard area of the World Trade Center. He ordered a simple Insalata Caprese, for us to share which was simply layers of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and garden fresh basil. It was then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and cracked black pepper. What seemed so plain, was so good. The combination of those fresh flavors is so distinct, that I will never forget my first experience.

We do a Caprese sandwich here, which is truly authentic. Perfect to eat in this season of the year, when all ingredients are fresh and readily available. Below, I will describe how we build this work of art.

First,  start with crusty bread. Baguettes, focaccia and ciabatta  all work well. 

The next step, slice your bread in half lenghtwise, and start layering your ingredients. We use fresh tomatoes slices,  fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh basil of course!

After you have your layers of flavor built, it’s time to drizzle the bread with some extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. These flavors work very well on this sandwich. Be careful, too much balsamic vinegar will be too strong of a flavor, so use sparingly as shown below

Now that your sandwich is just about complete,  finish assembly by putting the top half of the bread over the layers of flavor you have now built. The finished product looks like this.

This is “New School” hospital food. Bologna sandwiches are not welcome here.


About Chef Ryan CEC

I'm the Executive Chef for Rex Healthcare's Culinary & Nutritional Services team in Raleigh, NC. We are doing some amazing things. We are changing the perception of "Hospital Food"- one meal at a time.
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