,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Monday, June 7, 2010

Caprese Salad - Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil

Caprese is one of the simplest and most delicious salads but it requires the right ingredients.
This – basically summer dish - is an easy and delicious salad made with fresh summer-ripe tomatoes (juicy and flavorful but not overly soft) and fresh buffalo mozzarella.
It does not need more than a touch of fresh young basil, extra-virgin olive oil, pesto, salt and pepper and this simple salad is turned it to a fantastic appetizer. With good quality fresh bread like focaccia or ciabatta and a glass of chilled white wine, this makes an excellent summer lunch or, in a small portion, an ideal first course for a summer meal.
Here is the way I made this salad for 4 people:                   
3 x 125 gr balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
1 pot fresh basil leaves
coarse salt to taste
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly made pesto
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
20 ml balsamic reduction
On a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) arrange tomatoes, cheese slices and basil alternately overlapping on platter. Just before serving, pour on some good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, fresh pesto and balsamic reduction.
Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time to become soggy.
A classic recipe has no vinegar of any kind in but I like it very much and you can see in the pictures with and without.
Balsamic Brown Sugar Reduction Recipe:
250 ml balsamic vinegar and 100 gr brown sugar.
Cook the vinegar/brown sugar mixture down on med-high heat until it is reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cooling before serving.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe:
Traditional Italian pesto is made by hand in a marble mortar, adding the basil leaves one by one for silkiest, smoothest pesto imaginable. In easier way we like the food processor, and the result is almost as good.
400 gr fresh basil leaves, packed
100 gr freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
500 gr pine nuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse
a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Can be served with pasta, salads, potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.
If you find the sauce to oily leave it on a side for the pesto to set down and then strain the oil.           Pin It Now!

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