Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

There aren't too many things that I crave that Justin doesn't eat and vice versa, but sometimes we just have to have a fend-for-yourself night where we each get to eat whatever it is that individually makes us happy. It's summer, and it's been a pretty hot one at that, and so I just want to eat cold things. Caprese salad is one of those things that just hits the spot. Yes, technically caprese salad is usually more of an appetizer than a full dinner, but it's cold and delicious and everything that's good about summer.

I actually didn't really eat tomatoes until fairly recently. I always ate tomato sauce and spaghetti and whatnot, but I never ate actual tomatoes. I didn't like them for whatever reason. Since I've grown up and started eating a wider variety of foods, I've discovered that I do like them after all, and since I started eating tomatoes, I discovered the delight of caprese salad. Fresh basil? Love it! Fresh mozzarella? Can't get enough of it! Put that on a perfectly ripe tomato with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, and you've nearly got perfection. (If only there was a good way to work in some bacon there. Hmmmm. I might need to work on that.)

Another thing that I've discovered is that roasted tomatoes are even more amazing than raw ones. When I worked at the coffee shop, we had tapas nights on Friday and Saturday nights, and even though I was responsible for more of the pastry side of things, my boss's frequent absences (don't get me started) often meant that I had to help start the prep work for the tapas menu. One of the many things that fell to me on those occasions was roasting roma tomatoes. For this recipe, I decided to combine the wonderful flavors of roasted tomatoes with the simple deliciousness of caprese salad, and it takes it to a whole other level of awesome. You could serve it with the tomatoes fresh out of the oven, but that would defeat the purpose of having a cold treat. I'm sure it would still be delicious, but I refrigerated mine first.


2-3 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced


Cut tomatoes into eight to ten even slices, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Bake at 300 F for 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool, and then chill well.

Bring balsamic vinegar to boil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow vinegar to reduce, stirring occasionally, until almost at the desired thickness. Remove pan from heat, and allow vinegar to cool. (It will thicken more as it cools.) Refrigerate if desired.

Chiffonade basil by stacking leaves together and rolling tightly. Cut roll into thin strips. (Click here for a visual explanation if you need one.)

Assemble tomato slices, mozzarella slices, and basil in individual stacks, and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Servings: 8-10

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