Thursday, September 1, 2011

Caprese Salad


This year my household decided to participate in the Scott Arbor local organic produce program.  We’ve gotten fresh basil almost every week, and had a short run of small but terrific, flavorful tomatoes.  I decided to do my take on Caprese Salad.  You know, the tomato and mozzarella “salad”, with basil and balsamic vinegar. 

I’ve really loved making fresh pesto with the basil, so decided to use pesto rather than just sprinkle with basil leaves or chopped basil.  I also thought it would be a nice touch to make a balsamic reduction, instead of just drizzling with balsamic vinegar.  Since my chunk of mozzarella was fairly large, and my tomatoes very small, I decided to chop both!  I told you it was “my take” on Caprese Salad. 

For the pesto, I put about a half cup of almonds in the food processor and processed until fairly small.  Then I added about a half cup of grated Asiago cheese, and my basil, which was probably about a cup lightly packed, and processed.  Then I drizzled in olive oil until my pesto was like a spread.  I have also made pesto with cashews and Parmesan cheese, and I have heard others use walnuts. 

The balsamic reduction was super easy.  I put one cup of balsamic vinegar in a small skillet, and heated on low until it was reduced by about half. 

Finally, I mixed my chopped mozzarella and tomatoes, topped with basil, then topped with my balsamic reduction.  This Caprese Salad was absolutely fabulous!  I sure wish the tomatoes were still producing, but alas the Texas heat is not kind to tomatoes.  I haven’t found Texas to have the great tasting super ripe tomatoes that I always enjoyed in the Carolinas- except those few weeks of small tomatoes from Scott Arbor.  At least I can enjoy my fresh pesto and pasta each week. 


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