It’s often the simplest of recipes that are the hardest to get right. Caprese salad is one of those mysterious recipes. I have studied this, believe me. I didn’t even know I liked tomatoes until I tasted one in Tuscany for the first time. It was a far cry from the mealy things my mother used to buy in the supermarket in Ohio. In my travels to Italy, I have voraciously indulged in many versions of the classic caprese salad, and I have learned a great deal. The tomatoes have to be perfectly ripe, juicy and robust. The mozzarella should be fresh, locally made if possible. The basil should be fragrant and bright green. All of these things when combined in just the right way will create the perfect bite.
The problem with all of these theories is that these “perfect” ingredients are not available to the average person all of the time. So Keith, in his infinite wisdom, came up with a great solution to this problem: he oven roasted the tomatoes! So while we anxiously wait for our garden to produce those juicy red gems, we bought decent Roma tomatoes from the supermarket and roasted them before assembling the salad. The results are quite spectacular.
There is nothing better than this light and healthy salad as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. Trust me when I say that the extra hour of prep time is worth the effort. It’s like having a little bit of Italy at your kitchen table.
- 4-6 Roma tomatoes (ripe)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese balls
- 2 ounces fresh basil
- 2 TBSP. Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- Cut tomatoes in quarters, lengthways
- Arrange on baking sheet (skin side down) and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Peel garlic gloves and rub garlic cloves over each tomato wedge to give a slight garlic flavor.
- Place tray in oven and let cook for an hour.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Slice cheese in ¼ inch slices and then in half to end up with moon shaped pieces.
- On a plate arrange cheese and tomatoes by alternating them in a shingling presentation.
- Julienne basil leaves and sprinkle over top of plate.
- Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and cheese and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve as an appetizer or first course salad.