I have been blessed to travel and see the world quite a bit thanks to my wife Jill.  The other Jill in my life, Chef Jill McCoy is also a traveler. One of the things that both Jill's and I can agree on the best part of the journey is the  food.

Whether you dine in a five star restaurant or a tiny hut of a place that the locals recommended finding that memorable dish really helps bring the flavor of the trip home.

One of my favorite places to travel is Italy. The women are beautiful, the men are excitable and the food is probably what makes the entire country vibrate with passion. Perhaps my most favorite Italian dish is a simple salad. I call it simple because there are really just three ingredients but those ingredients have to be spot on with freshness and flavor.

The salad I speak of is probably one you are familiar with it's the Caprese Salad. A simple combination of fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh red ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. It's layered lengthwise on a platter and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. It's so simple and so good.

I just love the flavor and the texture in this salad. The combination of these flavors takes me back to a very small cafe just a few feet away from Rome's Trevi Fountain. When the waiter brought out the salad  you could smell the freshness of the basil. The creamy smoothness of the cheese combined with the robust flavor of the bright red tomato made me feel like an authentic Italian from my taste buds to my toes.

Another thing I like about food and travel is getting to know the story behind the dish. Take a look at the picture of the Caprese Salad. Can you see why this salad is so important to the culture of Italy? Think about the Italian flag, the colors of red, white, and green. Does it remind you of a certain salad?

The cool thing about this salad is that you can make it at your home quite easily. The ingredients are plentiful and most area grocery stores or farmers markets. You can even find the dressing pre-made and ready for drizzling. I do hope you'll enjoy this taste of Italy that is fresh, cool, and doesn't need a hot oven to satisfy.



More From 97.3 The Dawg