A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 03, 2011
Capri Salad or Caprese Salad (Insalata Caprese)

“Mozzarella and tomato salad” has been served since at least the early 1970s; its origin is unknown. The actress Sophia Loren wrote in her book In the Kitchen with Love (1972): “SALAD OF MOZZARELLA AND TOMATOES. I’d like to know who dreamed up this salad, which has become a classic in no time at all.” Google Books shows an Italian language citation of “l’insalata di mozzarella e pomodori” (“salad of mozzarella and tomatoes”) from 1971.
The name “insalata caprese” (“Caprese salad” or, more rarely, “Capri salad”) has been cited in Italian since at least 1976 (“l’insalata caprese di mozzarella, pomodori, e basilico”). King Farouk I of Egypt (1920-1965) visited Capri in 1952; many newspapers reported on his large appetite, but it cannot be confirmed that Farouk ate mozzarella and tomato salad while in Capri.
Caprese salad is usually made with alternating slices of buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes on a plate, with added basil, and spinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Wikipedia: Insalata Caprese
Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (first course), not a contorno (side dish).
While it’s unknown whether the salad actually originated on Capri, it became popular after being served there to the jet-setting King Farouk of Egypt during the 1950s.
Some variations include adding chopped garlic, parsley, and various sauces. (Balsamic Vinegar, Italian Dressing, etc.) Farouk reportedly enjoyed it as a sandwich filling.
Capri Island Italy cuisine cooking traditions
Caprese Salad.
Even though the glory of having promoted the Caprese salad goes to the culinary imagination of a Caprese and later to the appetite of King Farouk, at the futuristic dinners organized at the historic Hotel Quisisana at the end of the 1920s by Marinetti and his companions, the tri-color union of “fiordilatte” mozzarella was already hinted at (the use of “bufala” mozzarella was less certain on the island), green salad, basil and ripe tomatoes. Disdaining stupid pasta and conventional cooking and loving vegetarian cooking, the futurists could therefore fight against “weight, paunches and obesity”, ignorant of its caloric content. Certainly true is the story - made immortal in the 1950s - of the presumptuous request of the Egyptian King Farouk, who, returning in the afternoon from the beach of Marina Piccola, desired to “stay light” and asked for something unique: he was served a hot sandwich filled with fragrant Caprese salad flavored with oregano.
Google Books
Approssimato per difetto
Volume 1971
By Gina Lagorio
Bologna: Cappelli
Pg. 125:
In cucina Adriana preparava l’insalata di mozzarella e pomodori, che mangiavamo sempre alla sera, un tempo.
Google Books
In the Kitchen with Love
By Sophia Loren
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
Pg. 9:
I’d like to know who dreamed up this salad, which has become a classic in no time at all.
7 September 1975, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Positano—Gem of the Amalfi” by Susan Pierres, pt. 9, pg. H2:     
...Italy’s tastiest tomatoes generally perfumed with fresh basil and/or oregano and the low-calorie fresh mozzarella cheese made from buffalo’s milk. A salad of the two simply seasoned with basil, olive oil, and salt provides an ideal light summer lunch or an equally digestible supper as the main ingredients on a native pizza.
Google Books
Fratelli d’Italia
By Alberto Arbasino
Torino: Einaudi
Pg. 133:
Anche presagi di angoscia sopra l’insalata caprese di mozzarella, pomodori, e basilico.
16 September 1979, Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, Family Weekly, pg. 27, col. 2:
1 pkg. (8 ozs.) unsliced round mozzarella cheese
2 large tomatoes
Assorted salad greens: iceberg, endive, romaine, arugula
Thin slices carrot
Oil and vinegar dressing
1. On a bed of crisp bite-sized greens, arrange alternating 1/2-inch thick slices of mozzarella cheese and tomato.
2. Garnish with carrot slices. Spoon a little, about 1/2 teaspoon, pesto on the edge of each tomato slice.
Makes 6 servings
Google Books
Volume 40, Issues 7-12
Pg. 38:
At its freshest the mozzarella is savored for itself in an insalata caprese — a few slices of cheese and tomato, fresh basil leaves, and a sprinkling of fine olive oil.
Google News Archive
7 July 1982, Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, “Italian tomato and mozzarella salad a heady celebration of summer,” pg. D2, cols. 2-3:
Tomato and mozzarella salad
1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella
2 small or 1 large tomato, cored
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place slice of mozzarella on serving plate. Then slice tomato as thinly as possible. Place tomato slice, overlapping cheese, on platter. Alternate cheese and tomato slices until all are used. Drizzle olive oil over cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper to taste. makes 2 servings.
21 October 1982, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Epcot Center: 27 Restaurants offer diners taste adventure,” Food Front, pg. 1, col. 2:
Fresh Mozzarella cheese is flown in from New York for Alfredo’s Caprese salad (tomatoes and mozzarella with pesto),...
Google Books
Christie Brinkley’s Outdoor Beauty & fitness Book
By Christie Brinkley
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
Pg. 27:
My very favorite salad is insalata Caprese, which is fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and pieces of mozzarella cheese. With just the slightest bit of olive oil drizzled over, there’s nothing like it!
Google Books
30 May 1983, New York magazine, ‘The Insatiable Critic” by Gael Greene, pg. 66, col. 3:
With a great summer tomato, insalata caprese ($4.50) would soar; for now, good mozzarella and the tang of fresh basil are almost enough to offset the tomato blahs.
18 September 1983, New York (NY) Times, “Almost Like Being in North Italy” by Florence Fabrican, pg. LI21:
Recommended dishes: Caprese (mozzarella and tomato with basil),...
(L’Orsa Minore of East Hampton—ed.)
Google Books
Third Helpings
By Calvin Trillin
New York, NY: Penguin Books
1984, ©1983
Pg. 133:
So was a salad made of tomato, fresh basil, olive oil and mozzarella — a dish, it turns out, that is sometimes known as a Caprisian salad.
28 April 1984, New York (NY) Times, “In Naples, What Else But Pizza?” by Paul Hoffman, pg. XX45:
After a recent lunch for two with pizza Margherita, insalata caprese (Capri-style slices of mozzarella with fresh tomatoes and lettuce), a bottle of light, white Falerno wine and espresso, the bill, also a computer printout, came to $18.75.
21 August 1985, New York (NY) Times, “Food Notes” by Nancy Jenkins, pg. C7:
One Italian favorite is insalata caprese: thin slices of fresh ripe tomato inter-leaved with thin slices of fresh mozzarella and sprigs of fresh basil, dressed with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Google Books
The Restaurants of New York
By Seymour Britchky
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
Pg. 264:
The closest you can come to cheese is an item listed as an appetizer — insalata caprese: slabs of powerful red onion, slices of smoked mozzarella, and discs of tomato, all in a tangy vinaigrette that is nearly ruined by dried herbs.
26 October 1986, New York (NY) Times, “Italy’s Buttery Buffalo Cheese” by Louis Inturrisi, pg. 38:
The workmen in Gaetano Yemma’s factory go at the production of buffalo-milk mozzarella with a similar passion. And, whether sliced in a caprese salad with fresh basil and tomatoes or sandwiched in carrozza, between sliced of bread soaked in butter and fried in olive oil, it is usually eaten with passion, too.
Google Books
Microwave Gourmet Healthstyle Cookbook
By Barbara Kafka
New York, NY: William Morrow
Pg. 80:
CAPRESE SALAD This classic Italian summer salad comes originally from the isle of Capri and flaunts the colors — green, white and red — of the Italian flag. Made in moments, it is best when the tomatoes are ripest, the basil the most pungent. The calories are reduced by using skim-milk mozzarella.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, January 03, 2011 • Permalink

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