Caprese salads are my top choice of salad in the world. Picture this, you’re sipping on a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio on a patio in Italy overlooking a vineyard while snacking on the freshest tomatoes with soft, yummy cheese topped with some candy-like balsamic dressing. Nice picture, right? Well, this isn’t exactly the typical situation you encounter when eating a caprese salad, but it’s the only way to describe how I feel about it.
I’ve had many, many caprese’s at many restaurants and even played around with different ingredients and types of tomatoes and cheese and found the recipe I like the most. It’s still considered a classic caprese salad, but I just doubled up on the cheese and made my own balsamic reduction. There are some caprese’s that use buffalo mozzarella and some that use bocconcini. Any really soft cheese (usually ones in water) works well to take on the flavours of the tomatoes, basil and balsamic.
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients: 4 Roma tomatoes (or Hot House- but preferably a large tomato), 1 package basil (8 basil leaves), 1 tub bocconcini (I use the Tre Stelle medallions (200g)), 1 container buffalo mozzarella (or you can use a ball of fresh mozzarella), 2 cups balsamic vinegar.
Instructions for Salad: easy peasy, just slice up the tomatoes, cheese and tear the basil leaves. Place 1 piece of each cheese and one basil leaf on each tomato slice. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction right before serving.
Instructions for the Balsamic Reduction: pour balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and bring vinegar to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes until vinegar has reduced down. Stir occasionally. *Be sure to keep an eye on it because it can burn quickly. Remove from heat. Let reduction cool and serve or transfer to an air tight container and store in fridge until ready to use. To heat it up again, place it in a sauce pan for under 1 minute.
I love serving this as an appetizer before a meal paired with red wine. So preferably, it’s an Italian style dinner where you can serve a nice bottle of Chianti to pair perfectly with the tomatoes and whatever you cook as the main.