The Popular Myth Behind The Caprese Sandwich's Creation

Full-size Caprese sandwich
Full-size Caprese sandwich - Gbh007/Getty Images

What came first, the Caprese salad or the Caprese sandwich? Despite the murky origins of Insalata Caprese, we know for certain that the colorful and delicious combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil made its initial debut in salad form before making the leap to a handheld. So, what inspired the change? Well, that's a little unclear, but the most popular myth behind the transition credits King Farouk of Egypt for turning the tri-colored salad into a meal that could be eaten on the go.

According to the story, the royal fled to Italy after being exiled from Egypt in 1952. While there, he visited Capri's Hotel Quisisana — as in, the Grand Hotel Quisisana, where Caprese salad was allegedly invented in the 1920s. Already a fan of the salad, King Farouk asked his chef one day for a light and portable meal. In return, he was presented with all of the beautiful ingredients of a Caprese salad piled in between two pieces of bread, thus creating the Caprese sandwich that so many people know and love today.

Of course, Caprese sandwiches have evolved a bit since this myth of the 1950s. Our version, for example, is a grilled Caprese sandwich featuring mayo and pesto in addition to the traditional ingredients. Others have opted to add some protein into the mix with grilled chicken, bacon, or prosciutto.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

The Best Type Of Bread For A Caprese Sandwich

A slice of Caprese sandwich
A slice of Caprese sandwich - Sandoclr/Getty Images

The beauty of the Caprese — sandwich or salad — is its simplicity, so you want to make sure you get the highest-quality ingredients possible for the best-tasting meal: rich buffalo mozzarella, a good olive oil (which, by the way, doesn't have to break the bank), and fresh basil with tomatoes (perhaps from your local farmer's market or even your garden). If you have King Farouk's penchant for a light meal that you can eat on the go, then choosing the right bread for your Caprese sandwich is also crucial.

A fresh, crusty loaf is your best bet. Examples of this type of bread include sourdough, ciabatta, or a French baguette — really anything that has a soft interior but a hard exterior, so that the sandwich won't turn into a soggy mess from the combined moisture from the tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Of course, Caprese's transition from salad to sandwich was just the beginning of its evolution. Ditch the bread completely in favor of grilled chicken topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil for a hearty and delicious meal, or add some pasta to the mix for the perfect summer picnic side dish. And, on the occasions when you wake up craving all of the yummy flavors of this dish from Capri, then Caprese fried eggs are a zesty way to enjoy your breakfast.

Read the original article on Mashed